Konkai-koumyou-ji and Shinyo-do (真如堂) are the two main temples of the Kurodani area (黒谷, literally black valley). Founded in 1175, Konkaikomyo-ji has one of the largest, if not the largest cemetery in Kyoto, and many tombs found on its grounds have a historical importance, such as the tombs of soldiers who died during the battle of Toba-Fushimi (鳥羽・伏見の戦い). A fire in 1934 destroyed many buildings and important cultural items, but the temple has recovered since then.
The main hall (本堂, hondo) is accessible year round, as well as the cemetery. The latter is very quiet and worth a (spooky) stroll among the centenary tombs. On the south-eastern and lower part of the temple is a small pond with a stone bridge (and quite decent lavatories, hint hint...). The path climbs to the top of the hill of the cemetery where you will find a pagoda, and following the path on the left should lead to the nearby Shinyo-do (真如堂).
The most interesting part of the temple for me is the garden, which is only open a few weeks per year. This is not an issue because the garden opens during the peak seasons when it is the most beautiful. The garden combines a dry landscape zen garden with tea rooms, various paths, bridges and lanterns, with the white-walled granary of the temple in the background.
Konkaikomyo-ji (金戒光明寺) has many sub-temples but very few can be visited. In fact, I can't think of a single one that can be visited, with the exception of rumours about Eisetsu-in (栄摂院) which, according to satellite pictures, has a beautiful zen garden.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Shinyo-dō 真如堂 (220m), Takenaka Inari Jinja 竹中稲荷神社 (450m), Sakuradanicho 47 桜谷町47 (570m), Yoshida-jinja 吉田神社 (590m), Heian-jingū 平安神宮 (630m), Shōgo-in 聖護院 (660m), Yōji-ya よーじや銀閣寺店 (670m), Shigemori Mirei Residence 重森三玲庭園美術館 (690m), Anraku-ji 安楽寺 (710m), Mo-an 茂庵 (710m),...
External links: Website, ウィキペディア, Wikipedia, Wikipédia, Kyoto Navi, Trip Advisor, Kyoto Design, 京都風光, Marutake, そうだ京都
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 左京区, Sakyo-ku, Konkaikomyo-ji, 金戒光明寺, temple, 寺院, 仏閣, 黒谷, Kurotani