Top 5 Kyoto Temples to Escape the Crowds: Part 3

Part 1

Part 2

Shinnyodo

It's difficult to know where to start with this one. A quick look at my daily photoblog shows almost 80 images tagged "shinnyodo". It has kept me coming back year after year and has never disappointed, either as a place to find peace or to enjoy taking photos (admittedly one and the same for me).

Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1/160 second F/8.0 ISO 500 200 mm

Established in 984, Shinnyodo's premises encompass quite a large area with multiple buildings, including a three-storied pagoda. It is especially well-known for its magnificent Fall colours as evidenced by many of these photos, however I've found it to be worth visiting all year round. The green of the Spring maple is especially soothing.

FUJIFILM X100S 1/40 second F/5.6 ISO 640 33 mm

As with the other temples so far named in this series, Shinnyodo remains quiet despite its central location due to lack of easy access. There is no bus stop close by, tour buses are unable to navigate the narrow streets and there isn't any parking to speak of.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1/100 second F/16.0 ISO 200 100 mm

That being said it isn't much of a walk from some of the busier spots such as Nanzenji (about 25 mins), and those prepared to make the walk are sure to find the experience worth while. Even the shot above, taken with the cherry blossoms in full bloom shows a remarkably quiet space.

As the temple sits atop a hill, late afternoon sunlight pours in making this an ideal place to spend golden hour.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1/50 second F/5.6 ISO 100 92 mm

The area behind the main hall can be particularly breathtaking at this time, especially in Fall.

FUJIFILM X100S 1/40 second F/4.0 ISO 400 33 mm

The orange maple glow.

FUJIFILM X100S 1/40 second F/4.0 ISO 400 23 mm

The three storey pagoda is surrounded by maple and ginko trees which catch the afternoon light.

FUJIFILM X100S 1/40 second F/11.0 ISO 640 23 mm

Here, the trees cast shadows of the afternoon sun.

FUJIFILM X100S 1/40 second F/5.6 ISO 500 23 mm

In September you can find a flower called higanbana sprouting up around the precincts. In English it's called Cluster Amaryllis and is usually found in graveyards and around the edges of rice fields. It's bright red colour is quite striking against the green grass.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1/200 second F/3.2 ISO 400 100 mm

In rainy season Hydrangeas take centre stage.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1/40 second F/2.5 ISO 100 35 mm

This image features the basin to purify your hands and mouth and the two hishyaku resting on the bamboo. My polarizing filter had steamed up giving the image this dreamy look. Again you can see that the temple is deserted.

FUJIFILM X100S 1/280 second F/2.0 ISO 400 23 mm

Japanese beauty.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1/160 second F/2.8 ISO 250 200 mm

To access Shinnyodo walk north from the Higashi Tenno-cho bus stop on Marutamachi or south from the Ginkakuji-michi stop on Kita-Shirakawa. Shinnyodo is on the east side of Yoshidayama to the east of Kyoto University Hyakumanben Campus.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1/160 second F/4.0 ISO 320 135 mm

Entrance is free except for the the inner chamber of the main hall and to access the temple's garden.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II 1/80 second F/5.6 ISO 200 100 mm

That about wraps things up for part 3. If this is your first visit and you found this content useful please head over to the main page and click that Like button.


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Until next time, happy shooting.

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