Saimiyo-Ji Temple, Takao, Kyoto

Saimyô-ji is the smallest of the three temples located in Takao, a mountainous region on the northwestern edge of Kyoto. It is only an hour away from central Kyoto and is an attractive destination, mainly during the fall. A few minutes away from Jingo-ji, this temple is reached by crossing the beautiful Shigetsukyo Bridge, beautifully covered in vermilion paint — another one of Takao’s famous scenes. 

Saimyô-ji is perhaps the smallest of the three temples, but in its size lies its charm. It is never crowded and I found the monks (one of whom speaks excellent English) very friendly. The approach to the temple entrance gate is particularly beautiful. Inside the temple grounds, various spots seem to have been created for photographers!