Top choice buddhist temple in Southern Higashiyama

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This temple is hard to miss, with its giant camphor trees growing just outside the walls. Fortunately, most tourists march right on past, heading to the area's more famous temples. That is their loss, because this intimate little sanctuary contains a superb landscape garden, which you can enjoy while drinking a cup of green tea (¥500, 9am to 3.30pm; ask at the reception office).

Shōren-in, commonly called Awata Palace after the neighbourhood in which it is located, was originally the residence of the chief abbot of the Tendai school. Founded in 1150, the present building dates from 1895 and the main hall has sliding screens with paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries.