ART & TRIP! この夏は「名画」と「絶景」の旅へ!


A must-see secret tourist spot of Kyoto, Yougenin Temple!


Kyoto is the best city you can feel Japanese tradition and culture. You can experience various Japanese traditions and cultures in Kyoto. Also, there are a lot of good photo spots. So, these days Kyoto is very crowded. In this article, we introduce a well-kept-scret place of Kyoto, Yougenin(養源院)Temple. This place is still not crowded, so you can fully enjoy the atmosphere and the arts in Yougenin Temple.

You can experience Japanese tradition and see a popular artist’s works.


Yougenin Temple is near by one of the famous spots in Kyoto, “Sanjyusangendo”(三十三間堂). We introduce the two must-see points below.

1.An Impressive White Elephant that Was Drawn in Edo Period

Tawaraya Soutatsu is a genius artist who was active in Kyoto during Edo period. He was asked to draw the white elephant by a person who built the Yougenin Temple.The white elephant that was drawn on a fusuma(paper-cover-coverted sliding doors and partition) is powerful and impressive. What you can see the work in the place the artist, Tawaraya Soutatsu, was actually drawing at is great and precious experience.


It is said that the elephant drawn on the left side is bowing to visitors who leave the room of Yougenin Temple. Tawaraya Soutatsu made use of the architecture’ construction and designed a “space”.

2.Feel the History of Samurai Lord

Yougenin Temple is renown for “血天井”(blood ceilings). Why is it called “blood ceilings”? During the age of Civil Wars, a lot of samurai fought and killed each other. In floors of many samurai residences and castles had many blood stains, which sank into the boards. Some of the blood stains were in the shape of heads or armors. One of the blood stains is shaped like a man wearing an armor, and we can see what position did he pass away with. To repose those samurais’ souls, in some temples, those boards were taken from the floors, brought in those temples including Yougenin Temple and placed in the ceilings. You may feel scary, but the ceiling shows samurais’ soul that they shook their life. You can feel samurais’ soul and Japanese history.


There is a guide in Yougenin, and he/she explains the arts and the history. The stories by the guides are very interesting. You’ll know about Yougenin Temple and the artist, Tawaraya Soutatsu deeply. We highly recommend you to visit Yougenin Temple and hear the story.

656 Sanjyusangendo mawari-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto, Japan