Plan your Beijing tour? We have rounded up 10 most important religious places which may be helpful for you if you are interested in religious sites in Beijing.
1. Beijing Lama Temple 雍和宫
The only temple in Beijing to have its own subway stop, the Yonghe Lamasery, or Yonghegong,or lama Temple is the most handsome and impressive Buddhist temple in the city. Lama Temple ( Yonghe Lamasery ) was built in the 33 Qing Kangxi year (1694) and it is now the largest and best-preserved Lamasery of Yellwo Sect in Beijing.
It was the residence of Emperor Yongzheng before his ascending to the throne. Built initially in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty, this building was the residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was just a prince. However, in 1744 the Qing Dynasty formally changed the status of the dwelling to that of a lamasery, and so Yonghe Lamasery became the national centre of Lama administration.
Check How to Visit Lama Temple for more information.
Open Time: 09:00-16:30
Travel Time: 1.5 hours
Add: No.13 Imperial College Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Take subway line 2 or 5 and get off at Lama Temple
Entrance Fee: RMB 20
2.White Cloud Taoist Temple 白云观
This temple is the center of Taoist activity in Beijing. Its origin dates back to the Tang Dynasty, when it was called Temple of the Supreme Ultimate. It became a major Taoist temple after a 13th century master taught, died and was buried here. His disciples renamed the temple Baiyunguan (White Cloud Temple) and the name has stuck.
There are still Taoist monks in the temple and they will talk to you. The temple is also the headquarters of the China Taoism Association.
Check out White Cloud Taoist Temple for more information.
Entrance Fee: RMB 10
Opening Hours: 8:30–16:30 (May – September)
8:30 – 16:00 (October – the next April)
Bus Line: 1. Take bus 26, 45, 319, 717and get off at Baiyunguan Station.
2. 19, 42, 46, 49, 390, 661, 662, 823 or 93
3.Niujie Mosque 牛街清真寺
The Niujie Mosque is the oldest mosque in Beijing. It was originally built in 996 during the Liao Dynasty and was reconstructed and renovated in successive dynasties. The mosque has had three big renovations since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
Niu Jie Mosque is located in the largest muslim community in Beijing. The Niujie Mosque takes an area of approximately 10,000 square meters. Its architecture is a blend of Islamic and Han Chinese cultural and architectural influences.
Add: No.88 Niujie St, Xicheng District, Beijing
Tel: 0086 10 6353 2564
Opening Hours: 8:00-18:00 Daily
Bus: take bus No. 48 and get off at Niujie Mosque, walk 200 meters.
4. 东堂 St. Joseph’s Church
Dongtang Cathedral (East Cathedral), which is also known as St. Joseph’s Church or Wangfujing Church. It is located on the most commercial street in Beijing – Wangfujing Street ( No.74 Wangfujing Street).
The present building was rebuilt in 1904 on the ruins of the burned church. The East Church was originally called Saint Joseph’s Church, and was built in the 12th year (1655) of Emperor Shunzhi during the Qing Dynast y (1644-1911).
It was the second Catholic church built in Beijing after Italian preacher Matteo Ricci built the “South Church” in southern Beijing at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In the 1980s, large-scale repairs and maintenance were carried out by the government for East Church.
Read my another article Catholic Mass Times Beijing for more information.
Add: 74, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Bus Lines: Take bus 103, 102, 104, 803, 814, 808 and get off at Donganmen Shichang, then walk north approx. 300 meters.
Mass Times: Weekdays 06:30 and 07:00 (Chinese), Saturday 06:30 and 07:00 (Chinese), Sunday 06:15 (Latin), 07:00 and 08:00 (Chinese)
5. 潭柘寺 Tanzhe Temple
The Chinese “Tanzhe Si 潭柘寺” literally means “Temple of Pool and Zhe Tree”, now popularly known as Tanzhe Temple in English. There used to be a pool behind the temple and a lot of Zhe trees ( a kind of wild mulberry trees ) on the mountains nearby, hence the name of Tanzhe Temple.
People often use a cliche to describe the long history of Tanzhe Temple – “First came Tanzhe Temple, then Beijing.” which was first built in 307 AD in Western Jin Dynasty ( 265 – 316 AD). Its name was changed again and again through Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. After its and repair and expansion in 1692, the hotel was renamed “Xiuyun Temple and has remained till today.
But it is popularly referred as Tanzhe Temple due to the dragon pool behind the temple and the Zhe trees on the nearby mountains.
Check out my another article Tanzhe Temple, Tanzhe Si Mentougou Beijing for more information.
Entrance Fee: RMB 55 per Person
How to get there:
By Public Transport:
Take subway line 1 and get off the most western station – Pingguoyuan, then connect public bus 931 for Tanzhe Temple
Bus runs daily 7am-5:30pm, about every 30 minutes. The bus ride time is about 1 hour
Drive along National Highway No. 108 (G108) in the west of Beijing. While on the way, it is advisable to notice the placards pointing to Tanzhe Temple.
6.戒台寺 Jietai Temple
“Jietaisi – 戒台寺” literally means “Ordination Terrace Temple” Or “Altar Temple” for Buddhist discipline and ordination, now popularly known as Jietai Temple, a combined Chinese and English phrase.
It is one of the well known Buddhist temples in Beijing as well as one of the three most important “Ordination Terrace Temples” in China with other two being Zhaoqing Temple in Hangzhou and Kaiyuan Temple in Quanzhou Fujian Province.
Check out my another article Jietai Temple, Jie Tai Temple – Jietai Si Mentougou Beijing for more information.
Entrance Fee: RMB 45 Per Person
How to get there by Public Transport:
Take subway Line 1 and get off at Pingguoyuan, then connect public bus for Jietai Temple
Drive from Fushi Road and find the National Highway No.108 (G108), drive according to the placard on the highway which points to Jietai Temple
7. 法源寺 Fayuan Temple
Fayuan Temple was built in 645 during Tang Dynasty (618 -906), the old est temple within the city proper of Beijing. It is situated at the south of Jiaozi Alley outside the Beijing Xuanwumen District.
It is not only the oldest Buddhist temple, but also the location for the China Buddhism Institution and China Buddhism Library and Relic Centre as well as an important venue for nurturing young monks and Buddhism research.
Fayuan Temple spreads over an area of 6700 m2. Fayuan Temple which consists of 13 halls carefully layout over a huge compound, is the oldest ancient temple buildings in Beijing.
How to get there
Take subway line 4 and get off at the station of Caishiku and exit from the Northwest Exit.
Check out the link Fayuan Temple for more information.
Add：7 Fayuan Qianjie, Xuanwu District, Beijing
8. Confucian Temple 孔庙
Confucian Temple in Beijing is the place where people pay respect to Confucius, which has started since the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
1. Opening Hours
High Season ( May – October ): 8:30am – 6:00pm ( no ticket selling after 5:30pm )
Low Season ( November – April ) 8:30am – 5:00pm ( No ticket selling after 4:00pm )
2. Entrance fee: RMB 30 per person
Read my another article Confucian Temple and the Imperial College Museum not be Missed for more information.
3. How to get there
Subway Line 2: get off at Yonghegong (Lama Temple) Station, come out of the station from Exit C (Southwest Exit), and walk south about 500 meters, then you’ll find Chengxian Jie (Chengxian Street) on your right hand and walk westward for 200 meters, and you will find Confucian Temple and Guozijian Imperial College.
Subway Line 5: get off at Yonghegong (Lama Temple )Station, and come out of the station from Exit D (Southwest Exit).
Take bus 3, 116 or 117 and get off at Yonghegong Station.
Take bus 13, 18, 44(小), 44(大), 62, 75, 116, 606, 800(内), 800 (外), 909 or 特2
Take bus 125 and get off at Yonghegong Qiao Bei Station.
9.天坛 Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven ( Tiantan ) is located in the southern part of Beijing, and has been one of the most holy places for the whole country for more than five centuries. It used as a complex of sacrificial buildings for the Ming and Qing emperors, and is the largest one in Beijing among several royal altars to Heaven, Earth, the Sun, the Moon and other deities or symbolic forces of Nature.
Check out my another article How to Visit Temple of Heaven for more information.
If you go to the Temple of Heaven in the early morning, you can see groups of people practicing all types of kung fu and taiji. You can also practice with them if you are so inclined. This is another good activity for the jet lag.
Add: on the east of Tianqiao, Chongwen District 67018866
Open Time: 6:00-21:00
Take 6, 20, 39 Buses
Travel Time: 1.5 hours
Entrance Fee: RMB 30
10.Yunjun Temple 云居寺
Yunju Temple, also named Xiyu Temple, is located at the western foot of Shijing Mountain, 75km southwest of the city center. The temple, built in the early 7th century, is famous for its storehouse of 14,278 stone tablets upon which are carved the Buddhist scriptures.
Check out my another article Stone scriptures in Yunju Temple for more information.
Most of the temple was destroyed in the 1930s. Reconstruction of the temple is now underway. In 1992, it was among the “Top Ten Tourist Spots of Beijing.”
Ticket Price: CNY 40
Opening Time: 08:00-16:30
How to get there: Bus No.917, 616,646,917zhuan, 917zhi 3, 953, 971 to Liangxiang Ximen, and then take a small bus No.12 to Yunju Temple.
Tip: Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours, here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:
How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Best Time to Visit Beijing
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites
Any questions, just drop a line.