Ninna-ji was founded by emperor Koko in 888, but he died before the end of its construction. Its successor, emperor Uda, completed the temple which took its name from the era in which it was built, the "Ninna era". At the time the area around Ninna-ji was a popular place where aristocrats had their villas, many of those which became temples at their owner's death. Emperor Uda abdicated at a young age (31) and became a monk at Ninna-ji temple, which then became known as the "Omuro Imperial Palace" since the ex-emperor lived there. Ninna-ji is not a converted imperial villa or palace, however. Since the days of the Omuro Palace and until 1869 it has been a tradition that one of the emperor's sons become abbot of Ninna-ji. The temple was destroyed by fire during the Onin war (15th century) and rebuilt in the 17th century. Most of the buildings as well as the famous short cherry trees grove were built at that time. Ninna-ji became a UNESCO World Heritage in 1994 at the same time as other famous temples in Kyoto.
The temple is roughly divided in three sections by its main road. The north area contains the 5-storied pagoda and the famous cherry grove, as well as various temple halls and a shrine. The south-east part consists of the museum and offices. Most interesting is the south-west area which is the heart of the temple. The garden is large but of a classic design, with the small tea house hidden in the vegetation behind the pond as a bonus. The temple halls have impressive paintings mostly, as usual, on sliding doors (襖 - fusuma).
Ninna-ji is not far from Myoshin-ji (妙心寺) and Ryoan-ji (龍安寺).
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Nearby: Fukuōji-jinja 福王子神社 (390m), Omuro Residence 旧邸御室 (460m), Ryōan-ji 龍安寺 (700m), Tenkyū-in 天球院 (750m), Daihō-in 大法院 (750m), Kingyū-in 金牛院 (790m), Tokuun-in 徳雲院 (810m), Shunkō-in 春光院 (840m), Chishō-in 智勝院 (850m), Rinshō-in 麟祥院 (870m),...
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Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 右京, Ukyo-ku, 仁和寺, 大内山, Ninna-ji, temple, 寺院, 仏閣, UNESCO world heritage