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The Hydrangeas of Mimurotoji Temple in Uji, Kyoto: Video Introduction

This video, titled "【4k】Hydrangea of Mimurodo temple: Kyoto)" (【4k】三室戸寺・あじさい園-Hydrangea of Mimurodo temple:Kyoto), was uploaded by "Anna Film Production."

Mimurotoji Temple (三室戸寺, Mimurotoji, also read as Mimurodoji), located in Uji, Kyoto is a famous location for its beautiful hydrangeas. This video released in 2018 shows the beauty of the hydrangea garden while lit up at night.
[Video] 0:36 - Illuminated Hydrangeas at Mimurotoji Temple

The History of Mimurotoji Temple and Its Connection to the Tale of Genji

Image of Mimurotoji Temple, Kyoto
Photo:Mimurotoji Temple, Kyoto

Mimurotoji Temple, an important temple in Western Japan, dates back to the Nara period (710-794 AD). According to temple legends, it was founded by a high-ranking Buddhist monk at the request of Emperor Konin in 770 A.D., approximately 1,200 years ago. Mimurotoji Temple was written "御室戸寺" (Mimurotoji) in Chinese characters when it was built, but after it was used as a detached palace for Emperor Konin, Emperor Kazan, and Emperor Shirakawa, it was renamed as "三室戸寺" (Mimurotoji) by replacing the first character "御" (an honorific character) with "三" (three), to signify the three emperors. After many ups and downs, the current main hall was rebuilt in 1814 in the late Edo Period, thanks to efforts by the monk Honyo.

The temple is considered to be the model for the mountain temple depicted in Uji Jujo (The Ten Chapters of Uji), one of the final sections in The Tale of Genji. The name "Ukifune," which is a name of a part of the chapters, is engraved on a bell in the temple cast around 350 years ago, and the name "Ukifune" is also engraved on the ancient monument next to the bell. These facts suggest that the temple has been associated with the Tale of Genji since at least the early Edo period (circa 1603 to 1700 A.D.).

Mimurotoji Temple, When to Visit One of the Best Hydrangea Gardens in Kyoto in 2023 + Illumination Event Admission Fees

Image of Hydrangeas at Mimurotoji Temple, Kyoto
Photo:Hydrangeas at Mimurotoji Temple, Kyoto

Visitors to the temple can enjoy the sight of 20,000 hydrangeas of 50 different varieties. The best time to visit is from early June to early July. The official Mimurotoji Temple Instagram reports the flowering status from time to time. In 2022, they were at around 30% bloom in early June, reaching peak bloom around June 20.
Be sure to check out their Instagram at @mimurotoji before visiting the temple to view the blooming flowers in 2023.

Along with the illuminated hydrangeas, another popular thing to see at the temple is the heart-shaped hydrangeas. They're a favorite of visitors since being promoted by Iwai Seika (a teahouse in the precincts of the temple). Be sure to keep an eye out for them when perusing the lovely hydrangeas at the temple.
[Video] 0:29 - A Heart-Shaped Hydrangea

Heart-shaped amulets and Ema (絵馬, votive plaques) are also available. In addition, there are 4 types of regular shuin (御朱印), and seasonal shuin stamps, so those who them should check these out as well.

● Hydrangea Garden (daytime)
Thursday, June 1 to Sunday, July 9 2023
Hours: 8:30 am - 3:40 pm (Temple closes at 4:30 pm)

● Hydrangea garden (light-up)
Saturdays and Sundays from June 10 to June 25, 2023
Hours: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Reception closes at 8:30 pm)

The entrance fee is 1,000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children for both daytime and evening viewing.

The Guardian Creatures of Mimurotoji Temple: Rabbits, Snakes, and Oxen

Image of Ugashin, the guardian snake of Mimurotoji Temple, Kyoto
Photo:Ugashin, the guardian snake of Mimurotoji Temple, Kyoto

Unlike other temples with komainu (guardian lion-dogs), Mimurotoji Temple has stone statues of guardian rabbits and guardian oxen near the main hall, as well as guardian snakes near the stone steps.

Ugashin is a statue with a human head and snake body. It impresses visitors with its shape which is said to being good fortune when stroked. The guardian rabbit statue is 1.5 meters tall (~5 ft.) and holds a large ball. It's said that your wish will come true when the egg-shaped stone in the ball stands up. Petting the guardian oxen is said to bring good luck as well.

Unfortunately, the guardian creatures cannot be seen during the evening lighting-up, so be sure to visit them during the day to receive their blessings.

Seasonal Highlights of Mimurotoji Temple: 20,000 Azaleas and Weeping Plums in The Garden!

Image of azaleas at Mimurotoji Temple, Kyoto
Photo:Azaleas at Mimurotoji Temple, Kyoto

The temple sits on a 4-acre plot of land and also has an azalea garden and a weeping plum garden. The weeping plum garden has 250 red, white, and pink weeping plum trees, which can be seen blooming from mid-February to the end of March every year. The garden is open from 8:30 am to 3:10 pm. The garden was open from Saturday, February 18 to Friday, March 31 in 2023.

You can see about 20,000 azaleas in its azalea garden. The best time to see them is around early May each year. The park will be open from Saturday April 22, 2023, to Sunday, May 14, 2023, from 8:30 to 15:40.

The admission fee for either the azalea garden or the weeping plum garden is 1,000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children. There are steep slopes and steep stairs at the entrance, so be sure to allow plenty of time for your visit.

Things to do Near Mimurotoji Temple

Here are a few places you should consider checking out if you're planning on visiting Mimurotoji Temple:

Tale of Genji Museum
The Tale of Genji Museum, which opened in 1998, introduces the world of the Tale of Genji with various models and videos. The museum hosts lectures regularly to teach visitors more about the Tale of Genji and Heian period Japan, and also features a collection of more than 3,000 books that visitors can enjoy reading. Approximately 15 minutes walking from Mimurotoji Temple.

Hours: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (last entry 4:30 pm)
Admission Fee: Adults 500 yen, Children 250 yen. ※Discounts available for groups of 30 or more.

Daikichiyama Observation Deck
An observation deck where visitors can enjoy the nature of Uji, Kyoto.

From the Tale of Genji Museum, it's about a 2-minute walk to the base of the mountain where the observatory is located. From there, it's an approximately 15-minute climb to the observatory. The path leading up to the observatory is a long, windy road, but this allows it to be a gentle incline that isn't too difficult to climb.

Hours: Open 24 hours
Admission Fee: Free

Byodoin Temple
Byodoin Temple is one of the most famous temples in Japan. Built in the Heian Period, the temple has a long history, and an incredibly stunning architectural style. The Phoenix Hall is particularly photogenic. Visitors to the temple can enjoy perusing the various murals found inside the temple, a walk through the temple garden, and a cup of tea at the temple tea house. Approximately 20 minutes walking from Mimurotoji Temple.

Hours: Garden: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm (last entry 5:15 pm), Phoenix Hall: 9:30 am - 4:10 pm (Max 50 entrants/20 mins), Temple Museum: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm (last entry 4:45 pm), Museum Shop: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Tea Room "Sabo Toka": 10:00 am - 4:30 pm (last order 4:00).
Admission Fee: Byodoin Temple Garden and Museum: Adults: 600 yen, Junior high and high school students: 400 yen, Elementary school students: 300 yen. ※Discounts available for groups of 25 or more.

The Tale of Genji Museum and Daikichiyama Observation Deck are located between Mimurotoji Temple and Byodoin Temple, so we recommend the following course:

Mimurotoji Temple→Tale of Genji Museum→Daikichiyama Observation Deck→Byodoin Temple

You could also start at Byodoin Temple and work your way towards Mimurotoji Temple as well.

A Brief Introduction to Uji, Kyoto

Located south of Kyoto, Uji is a city in Japan known for its delicious tea and ties to the Tale of Genji. The city is home to a number of historical attractions, such as Byodoin Temple, an architectural masterpiece, and Ujigami Shrine, thought to be the oldest Shinto shrine in existence. Both of these are registered UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
If you're looking to explore the ancient culture, history, and traditions of Japan, then Uji definitely worth a visit, and we highly recommend adding it to your Japan travel itinerary.

Summary of Mimurotoji Temple in Uji, Kyoto

Mimurotoji Temple, an ancient temple in Uji, Kyoto, is famous for its hydrangea garden. It's also known as a power spot. Its guardian rabbit greets visitors with its smiling face as they climb the stairs. Stroke its big ears to receive good fortune.

Mimurotoji Temple also has a beautiful weeping plum garden and azalea garden. Be sure to visit when they're in bloom to see another beautiful aspect of the temple.

[TripAdvisor] Mimurotoji Temple

Written By
Last Updated : May. 13, 2023
鈴木 正孝(Masataka Suzuki)
A writer born and raised in Asakusa, Tokyo who loves traveling and novels
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