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Seiryō-ji is a Jōdō branch Buddhist temple in the Saga district, located some 2 kilometers north of central Arashiyama, and is also known as the Saga Shaka Hall 嵯峨釈迦堂, the “Buddha Hall of Saga.” Its history dates back to the early eleventh century. The temple owns a wooden standing sculpture of Shaka dating from 985, a national treasure, which can be viewed along with numerous other artifacts in the main hall of the temple.
The temple marks sort of the border between more bustling Arashiyama and the quieter district of Saga. While the grounds are free to explore, for a separate entrance fee, visitors can visit the main hall and two gardens in the back at the abbot’s quarters. A wet landscape garden in this area offers nice autumn foliage in November.
As a photographer, I like to stop by Seiryō-ji in the early morning. In early–mid-March, asides from plum blossoms, a very early blooming Sakura bloom near the temple’s pagoda, followed by several other cherry trees on the grounds until mid-April. In autumn, a large Ginkgo tree near a tea house covers the temple in yellow. As the grounds are free and stay open longer than the usual opening hours, I recommend to explore this place and to take a breath from the tourist crowds in central Arashiyama.

Admission: open year-round, entrance fee for temple hall/inner gardens
Nearby places of interest: Hōkyō-in, Nison-in, Daikaku-ji

Cherry blossoms and the pagoda of Seiryō-ji.

Cherry blossoms and the pagoda of Seiryō-ji.

Spring 春
Summer 夏
Autumn 秋
Winter 冬
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