A Visit to Eikan-do, part 2: The Pagoda

No visit to Kyoto’s Eikan-do would be complete without a visit to the hillside pagoda – though many visitors miss the amazing view because the path to the pagoda (and the fact that it’s open to the public) isn’t always obvious. The path lies past the dragon fountain, at the edge of the steep hillside incline at the back of the temple grounds.

(Click here to start the tour of Eikan-do Zenrin-ji from the beginning.)

Several flights of stairs lead up the hill to a pair of observation platforms, one halfway to the pagoda:


and the other at the pagoda’s base. The pagoda becomes visible as you start up the stairs from the first open area.

Visitors cannot enter the pagoda (it’s unusual for pagodas to be open to the public) but architecture buffs (like me) will love the closeup view of its construction. I took this photo standing on the upper viewing platform, almost directly underneath the eaves:

In addition to getting a close-up view of the pagoda itself:

visitors who climb to the second platform can enjoy a fantastic view of Kyoto – one of the best along the philosopher’s path.

Signs on the viewing platform label numerous points of interest and historical sites that are visible from the platform – making it easy to identify them as you’re standing on the platform looking out over the city.

There’s also a fantastic view of the roofs of Eikan-do.

While climbing several flights of steps might not be everyone’s cup of tea, the views of the pagoda and the city are definitely worth the climb. On warmer days, the viewing platform also features a lovely, refreshing breeze and a break from the sometimes oppressive heat of a Kyoto summer.

After visiting the pagoda, I climbed back down and wandered through the temple’s lovely gardens, which surround a tranquil lake. Our virtual tour of Eikan-do concludes next Wednesday, here on the blog – but be sure to stop by Monday, too, for a spring surprise from Japan!

Do you like seeking out the hidden gems and special views at the places you visit?