Zhìhuà Temple

sights / Religious

Zhìhuà Temple information

Běijīng , China
Street 5 Lumicang Hutong
Getting there
subway Jianguomen or Chaoyangmen
adult ¥20, audio guide ¥10
Opening hours
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Lonely Planet review

Běijīng’s surviving temple brood has endured casual restoration that often buried authenticity. But this rickety non-active temple, hidden down a rarely visited hútòng , is thick with the flavours of old Peking, having eluded the Dulux treatment that invariably precedes entrance fee inflation and stomping tour groups. You won’t find the coffered ceiling of the Zhìhuà Hall (it’s in the USA), and the Four Heavenly Kings have vanished from Zhìhuà Gate (智化门; Zhìhuà Mén), but the Scriptures Hall encases a venerable Ming-dynasty wooden library topped with a seated Buddha and a magnificently unrestored ceiling. The highlight, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Hall (万佛殿; Wànfó Diàn), is right at the back of the complex, and is an enticing two floors of miniature niche-borne Buddhist effigies and cabinets for the storage of sutras. Unfortunately, visitors are no longer allowed to climb to the 2nd floor.