Qinglong Temple in Xian

Why is Qinglong Temple in Xian So Special?

  1. Qinglong Temple is a famous Buddhist temple with ancient architectures and a Cultural Relics Museum. 
  2. Qinglong Temple is one of the cradles of Esoteric Buddhism, one of eight Buddhist sects, and the cradle of the Japanese Shingon Buddhism. 
  3. Meanwhile, it is well-known for cherry blossom appreciation in springtime.

Brief Introduction of The Qinglong Temple

Qinglong Temple, also known as the Green Dragon Temple, is located in the southeast of the ancient city of Xi’an, only 1.5 km (about one mile) away from the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It is a famous Buddhist temple with ancient architectures and a Cultural Relics Museum. In the mid-Tang dynasty (618–907), Huiguo taught Vajrayana at the temple, his Japanese disciple Kūkaiintroduced it to Japan, since then, Qinglong Temple became the cradle of Vajrayana of both Chinese and Japanese Buddhism. Qinglong Temple was completely damaged in 1086 during the Northern Song dynasty (960–1127) and gradually it became unknown to public, the nascent version was completed in the 1980s with Tang dynasty architectural style.

The Qinglong Temple (Green Dragon Temple) was a famous temple of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It was known as a place where Buddhist monks were trained, and it was a favorite destination in China for Japanese monks to learn Buddhism. The temple’s history is well known in Japan because a Japanese monk named Kukai studied there and brought back his Buddhist teachings to Japan in the year 806. His influence was part of what made Buddhism popular in Japan. The original temple was destroyed, but a new one was built in 1963. The temple and the surrounding garden and halls are a favorite attraction for Japanese tourists who much appreciate the cherry trees that bloom between about March to May depending on the year’s climate. So if you go there when the cherry blossoms are blooming, you’ll likely see Japanese tourists. Beside the Green Dragon Temple, you can see a recently-built monument to the Japanese monk Kukai, exhibition halls, some remaining Tang-era monuments, and beautiful cherry trees.

History & Background

During the Tang Dynasty era, Xi’an was the capital of the Tang Empire, and Buddhism that was taught by Western Asian travelling monks was reestablished in the empire to be a major religion. The Western Asian monks taught a kind of Mayahana Buddhism that had developed there during the centuries before north of India. They travelled along the Silk Road eastward, and settled and taught in Xi’an. Many temples were built, and at the time, the Qinglong Temple was considered relatively small and unimportant, and it is said that the monks had little influence on Buddhism in the Tang Empire or afterwards.

But the monastery had a big impact on Japanese religion. A monk named Kukai (774-835) travelled around to look for a teacher who was willing to teach him some of the teachings of the Central Asian monks. He found a monk named Huiguo at the Qinglong Si who had studied under a famous travelling monk named Amoghavajra (705-774) who had been influential. At the temple, Kukai and other Japanese monks studied the scriptures and the system of rituals. Kukai returned to Japan in 806, and was very influential there. In 824, he was appointed to be the chief architect of the imperial Buddhist temple at Toji in the new capital city that the emperors were building. After that, he became tutor to the crown prince. His “Shingon” teachings became very popular and had the support of the emperors of the time.

Main Attractions

Cherry Blossom Appreciation

Green Dragon Temple is a place where the cherry blossoms can be enjoyed. Every year during May and June, an endless stream, of tourists comes to appreciate its beauty. Located North-East of the Big Goose pagoda, this 1500-year-old temple has strong ties with Japanese ShingonBuddhism. The big reason you’ll come here, however, is the cherry blossoms. There are both Japanese and Chinese cherry blossoms on their grounds, and now’s the time when they’re in full bloom. Their sakura festival has been going on since mid-March, but take it from us, now’s the time they’re going to look their best. Also, this is one of those things that, like, every local knows about but foreigners never talk about, so if you’re planning to go on a weekend, either go early or expect to wait in lines for a while.

Cultural Relics Museum and Kukai Monument

Enter by the east gate, and you will find the Cultural Relics Museum to your right. This three-storey museum displays cultural relics unearthed in the temple as well as those appertaining to the Sino-Japan relationship. Two paintings named “Ancient Qinglong Temple” and “Across the Sea to Tang China” respectively, are quite valuable.

To your left are special buildings. The first one you will encounter is Kukai Monument, which was erected in 1982 in memory of Kukai. This 32-foot monument is made of bluestones and white marbles with five stones from Japan on its top. On the west of the monument is Feiyun Pavilion, fronting the Qinglong Spring. Keep walking west for a few minutes and you will see the Hui-kuo & Kukai Memorial Hall, where sutras transcribed by Kukai, portraits of Kukai and his mentor Hui-kuo and other relics are kept. Also, the Poem Tablet can be found in the temple. On this one can see a brief introduction to Qinglong Temple, sculptures of Kukai, and oft-quoted poems written by eminent poets during past dynasties on their visits to the temple.

How to get to The Qinglong Temple

Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)

If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to the Qinglong Temple in Xi’an in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Traveler

  • By Bus:
    1. Take bus No. 19, 25, 33, 41, 45, 48, 118, 221, 237, 242, 269, 400, 517, 521, 525, 526, 528, 606, 607, 903 or Tourist Line 6 and get off at Qinglongsi (Qinglong Temple) Station. Then walk along Yanxiang Road towards northwest for about 6 min to get there.
    2. Take bus No. 31, 33, 252 or 612, and get off at Qinglonglu Dongkou Station. Cross the road and enter through the north gate of the temple.
  • By Metro:
    Take Metro Line 3 and get off at Qinglong Temple. Get out from Exit A. Then walk along Yanxiang Road towards northwest for about 5 min to get there.

Useful Travel Tips

  1. Admission Fee: The temple is free of charge, but the ticket is needed, which you can get with your passport.
    Opening Hours: October 16-March 14: 06:30-18:00   March 15-October 15: 06:30-21:00
  2. The Green Dragon Temple is surrounded by several of Xi’an’s major attractions that are all within about a three kilometer distance away. Only about 3 kilometers or 1.5 miles directly north of Green Dragon Temple are two of Xi’an’s other attractions: the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower. These two sites can easily be reached by walking north on Nan Da Jie (South Big Street). The Xi’an Beilin Museum is about 3 kilometers to the northeast. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is about 3 kilometers to the southeast. And the big and informative Shaanxi History Museum is about 2 kilometers or a mile south.China Highlights can help you design a trip to visit this and other sights in Xi’an.
  3. Dumpling Making at Datangtianxia Restaurant

    The restaurant is located near Qinglong Temple. Jiaozi or dumplings with meat and vegetable fillings are very popular during New Year Festival. It tops the list of delicacies preferred by people in Northern China. Our teacher will share some basic skills of dumpling making and then enjoy the fruits of your labor. What happens during the class? 1. Full illustration of dumplings making by your tour guide. 2. Demonstration by the chef. 3. Learn to make different types of dumplings. 4. Taste dumplings prepared for you.

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