The unique temple, Dharma temple!

Do you know Dharma doll? It is the figure that modeled on Dharma who is the founder the Zen sect of Buddhism. In Japan, the figure is famous for the good-luck article like Maneki neko (the figure of cat which raises its hand for taking you good luck.)

It is well-known that dharma doll is the symbol of patience and effort because it never lets itself down when it is tipped over. So, some people who want to be elected or pass the entrance examinations put in left eye and make wishes, and at later stage, paint in right eye of the doll when they realize their wishes. It’s an old Japanese custom.

Now, I visit a unique temple, Dharma temple where many dharma dolls are put.

1. The sign of Dharma temple when you walk in the direction toward Kinkaku-ji temple about 5 minutes from Enmachi station. 

2. Although the seemingly normal outside of Hourin-ji temple (Dharma temple)is , you come in…?

3. There are the reception desk (on right side of the below photo.) Then, go to the world of Dharma with kindly staffs.

The formal name of Dharma temple is Hourin-ji temple. This temple was constructed by Mankai. After WW2, the people of this temple started to put many dharma dolls for encouraging Japanese people, then this temple has been called Dharma temple.

And now, 70 years have passed since such thing, the local people and many students who study Japanese history and culture visit. Also, the number of Western tourists has been increased from 4 years before.

4. The large Dharma figures on the both side watch Dharma-dou

5. The inside of Dharma-dou
In Dharma-dou, there are the string of various dharma dolls. A great many dharma dolls welcome me, I am so impressed.

It is surprised that two dharma dolls of left side in the above photo is over 150 cm.

6. See the various expressions and shapes of dharma dolls. The red color of dharma doll means a good-luck charm.

7. See the image of Dharma on some ceiling.

8. Be surprised at the more spacious garden than I thought
Let’s have a break while seeing the garden.

9. This is the door, find the Dharma dolls

10. At the other side of the garden, there is the space where you can do Zen meditation.

I heard that Zen meditation is an ascetic practiceof Buddhism.
Sit down while concentrating in mind.
If you telephone this temple to reserve in advance, you do this experience with your companions from 10 people to 50 people.
It takes from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Also, you can arrange the time of this experience.

11. White your wish of the New Year on the ema (votive tablet) of dharma dolls.
Make your wish some day!

12. How about the souvenir of Dharma dolls?

This temple gives you articles for good luck, for example, charms and figures of dharma dolls. The most popular article is the lucky charm of dharma doll. Also, many people buy the lucky dharma doll charm which eyes are popping.
*the fortune slip is about 300 yen, the lucky charm is about 500-800 yen, and the ornament is about 500yen.

13. This is the lucky dharma doll charm which me ga deru (eyes are popping.)

In Japanese, eyes is “me”, and bud is “me”, these are same pronunciation. In the sentence “me ga deru”, there is a play on words, with meaning “the eyes are popping” and “bud.” Also, “me ga deru (bud)” means “get a good break.” From this sentence, the lucky dharma doll charms are made. I think it is fun.


  • Hourin-ji temple (Dharma temple)
    Tell: 075-841-7878
    Address: 京都市上京区下立売通御前西入ル西ノ京円町上ル一つ目信号東入100m
    Nishinokyo Enmahi. kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
    Open time: 9:00-16:00
    Admission fee: 300 yen (adult: over 16 years)
    200 yen (from 13 years to 15 years)
    100 yen (from 7 years to 12 years)
    *Under 6 years and disability people are admitted free.
    *10 percent of Group rates are available for parties of 30 and over.
    Fee of Zen meditation experience: 600 yen (uniformly, and this is extra.)
    The time required of seeing this temple: about 40 minutes
    Language: only Japanese
    Parking: 2 minibuses, 5 cars, bicycles are available (worshiper are admitted free.)
    Access: Walk 5 minutes from JR Enmachi station
    Walk 5 minutes from Kyoto city bus Nishinokyo Enmachi station※Above information is correct as of December, 2017.
姜恵仁/Kang Hye-in
姜恵仁/Kang Hye-in

韓国出身/立命館大学 文学部/趣味は神社巡り、ガイドブックライターになるために日々奮闘中。ーーーFrom: Korea / Faculty of Letters, Ritsumeikan University. / I enjoy visiting shrines in Kyoto and have a dream to be a travel writer.