A short walk from other major spots such as the Philosopher's path, Ginkaku-ji, Honen-in or Anraku-ji, Reikan-ji is not very popular for it is rarely open, only a couple of weeks per year. The temple was built in 1654 by emperor Gomizuno, who promptly made is daughter (and thus princess) the first abbess of the temple. The abbess-princess tradition continued until the Meiji restoration. Many buildings were part of an imperial palace which was located here before the temple was built but the main hall (hondo - 本堂) is more recent: it was built in 1803.
The garden in front of the main hall is typical of the Edo period with moss and a few standing stones. The depression was originally filled with water flowing from the mountain but is now dry. A couple of other gardens are located behind the main buildings, but one seems inaccessible (check the green yard on google maps). Inside the temple is a small collection of Japanese dolls (ningyo - 人形), but for a full ningyo experience you should visit Hokyo-ji (宝鏡寺) which is also closed most of the year, unfortunately.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Anraku-ji 安楽寺 (70m), Wachu-an 和中庵 (80m), Yōji-ya よーじや銀閣寺店 (200m), Sakuradanicho 47 桜谷町47 (220m), Ōtoyo-jinja 大豊神社 (280m), Hōnen-in 法然院 (340m), Kōun-ji 光雲寺 (440m), Shinyo-dō 真如堂 (630m), Saiun-in 西雲院 (640m), Ginkaku-ji 銀閣寺 (690m),...
External links: Kyoto Navi, Kyoto Design, 京都風光, Inside Kyoto, そうだ京都, Satellite view, Map
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 左京区, Sakyo-ku, 霊鑑寺, Reikan-ji, temple, 寺院, 仏閣