This area of north central Kyoto is among the few areas we would consider moving to, if circumstances allowed and/or the stars aligned. We love our area of western Kyoto but the area north of Shokokuji Temple is very tempting.
The neighborhood north of Imadegawa, west of Karasuma, Shimei Dori on the north end, and just east of the Kamo River is hemmed in by barriers human and natural. Thus, traffic is minimal.
It is close to several subway stops, bus routes, a hop skip and jump to the Kamo River, and a short ride into central Kyoto.
It also is home to many temples. The largest is Shokokuji Temple.
Among the other temples Kanga-an is small and quirky.
It is at the northern end of the area, almost to Shimei Dori.
In its garden is a gaggle of Buddhist statuary.
In the 17th century, retired Emperor Go Mizuno asked the head priest of Manpukuji in Uji, to open Kanga-an and "enshrine the Holy Spirit of Residential Protection, Chintakurefushin. Chintaku is thought to bear the impressive burden of controlling the movements of the universe, guarding the zodiac, expelling evil spirits and "protecting people from the wrong direction."
Until 1869, when the Emperor relocated to Tokyo, Chin's holy barricade safeguarded Japan's royals. Following that, Kanga-an was relegated to being just one of Kyoto's 3,000 temples and shrines. It is small and not on a the tourist route.
However, one thing separates Kanga-an from the many small and large temples: it serves traditional Kyoto Kaiseki cuisine that is wonderful. Eating in a temple is one of the many exquisite experiences to be had in Kyoto, and Kanga-an is one of the few that opens its doors to the public.
278 Kuramaguchi-Higahiiru, Karasumadori, Kita-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 603-0000
Telephone: 81 75 256 2480
Tags Japan Touring Kyoto Cycle Japanese