Founded in the 13th century, Kennin-ji is the oldest Zen Buddhist temple anywhere in the world. Located not too far from the Gion District (where you will find the majority of Kyoto's geisha) it is considered one of the most important temples in the city.
There are several parts to the grounds: the temple; the Chouontei garden with its stone installation for meditation; the square garden near where the priests and abbots sleep that is raked stone; the twin dragons on the ceiling of Hōdō hall (a must see even if its darkness prevents good photos!) and the Dharma hall. Every area is worthy of deep exploration and you can spend several hours in appreciation and meditation.
Absolutely gorgeous in the fall. If you visit during Thanksgiving there is a second temple (Seira-In) only open for 10 days where you can observe the maple leaves in tranquility.