Hana-dera, the "temple of flowers", is the nickname of Shoji-ji, a temple in the Oharano district (大原野) of western Kyoto. The temple is very aptly nicknamed, but you will have to come at the right season to enjoy the flowers: they consist almost only of cherry blossom and plum trees, so mid April is practically the only time where the temple is interesting. It is definitely worth though, so much so that you could have a flower overdose (like in Haradani-en). In case you miss the peak season you can also stop by in autumn since there's about 100 maple trees on the grounds too.
A worshipping hall was erected here in the late 7th century. A century later, during the Nara period, the temple was properly founded by imperial decree. Like many temples in Kyoto, it was destroyed during the Onin war. Reconstruction was performed in the late 16th century and regular restorations have taken place since.
Shoji-ji may seem tucked away in a remote corner of Kyoto, which it actually is, but is still a good stop in the Oharano valley. It's located right next to Oharano shrine and Shobo-ji (正法寺), with Yoshimine-dera and Jurin-ji within walking distance.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Oharano Jinja 大原野神社 (450m), Shōbō-ji 正法寺 (550m), Konzō-ji 金蔵寺 (1.1km)
External links: ウィキペディア, 京都風光, Marutake, そうだ京都, Satellite view, Map
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 西京, Nishikyo, 勝持寺, 花寺, Shoji-ji, Hana-dera, temple, 寺院, 仏閣