Nijō Castle – Ninomaru  (二条城 二の丸庭園)

The Ninomaru gardens of the Nijō castle in Kyoto have been designed by garden master Kobori Enshu. The palace was built for the first Edo shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early Edo period (1603-1868). There are numerous cherry and plum trees, which bloom between March and April.

The garden has a large pond with three islands that symbolize Horai-San, and the crane and turtle mountains of the Taoist mythology.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take city bus number 9 to Nijo-jo mae (二条城前) – it should take around 16 minutes.

Address
JP: 〒604-8301 京都市中京区二条通堀川西入二条城町541番地
EN: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8301

Opening times
8:45am to 5pm (last entry at 4pm)

Closed between Dec. 26th and January 4st,
and every Tuesday in January, July, August and December.

Admission
600 yen

Sanbō-in (Daigō-ji)   (醍醐寺 三宝院)

Sanbō-in is a temple of the Shingon school of Buddhism. It is a sub-temple of Daigō-ji and especially known for its beautiful garden.
The temple was built in 1115 (Heian period) and rebuilt in 1598 (Azuchi-Momoyama period). The garden is a large pond garden, with numerous stones and famous cherry and plum trees.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Nara line towards Nara and get off after two stops at Rokujizo station. Change here for the Tozai line towards Uzumases Tenjingawa. After 4 minutes and two stops you will arrive at Daigo station. From there, either take a taxi to the temple (1.1km) or walk in westwards direction (15 minutes).

Opening times
March-November: 9am – 5pm
December-February: 9am – 4pm
Last entry: 30 minutes before closing date.

Admission
600 yen

Address
22 Daigohigashiojicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 601-1325

Jukō-in (Daitoku-ji)  (聚光院)

Jukō-in is a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji. It was established in 1566 after the death of daimyo Miyoshi Nagayoshi. The graves of its founding abbot Shorei Sokin and the famous Japanese tea master Sen no Rikyu can also be found here.

The Hōjō or abbot’s quarters feature superb fusuma-e of Kano Eitoku that date back to 1566.

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Directions

How to get there
Bus: Take the bus 205 or 206 and get off at the stop ‘Daitoku-ji’.
Subway: Take the Karasuma line to Kitaō-ji station and walk about 15 minutes in a westward direction.

Admission
Generally closed to the public

Nōnin-ji  (能仁寺)

Nōnin-ji is a temple of the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism built in the Azuchi-Momoyama period. The gardens are especially beautiful in early summer, when the hydrangeas are flowering, and in fall, when the leaves of the Japanese maples change their color.

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Directions

How to get there
From Tokyo Ikebukuro station, take the Seibu Ikebukuro line from platform 7 towards Hannō (飯能). Get off at Hannō station and walk in north-western direction for 1.6 kilometer or 20 minutes. The Saitama Hannō Hospital is close to the temple.

Admission
300 Yen

Address
1329 Hannō, Hannō City, Saitama 357-0063
〒357-0063 埼玉県飯能市飯能 1329

Telephone
042-973-4128

Raikyū-ji  (頼久寺)

Raikyū-ji is an old temple of the Rinzai school of Buddhism. It is unclear when it was founded, but Ashikaga Takauji, the first shogun of the Muromachi period (1337 to 1573) has rebuilt the temple in 1339. The Zen garden was later laid out by Zen monk, garden designer and tea master Kobori Enshu (1579-1647). The garden is a dry landscape garden, with a Horai mountain, and a crane-turtle stone arrangement.

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Directions

How to get there
From Okayama main station, get on the JR Yakumo line 23 (platform 2). After roughly 30 minutes and two stops get off at Bitchutakahashi (備中高梁). From there you can walk to the garden (1 km, 15 minutes)

Opening times
9am-5pm

Admission
300 Yen

Address
716‐0016 岡山県高梁市頼久寺町18