Jizō-in is a really small temple with great atmosphere. Just a few minutes away from Saihō-ji, the moss temple, it is overlooked by most tourists. It was built as a temple of the Buddhist Rinzai school in 1367 by Hosokawa Yoriyuki, the founding priest was Musō Soseki. Like most of Kyoto’s temples and palaces, it was destroyed in the fires of the Ōnin war between 1467-77. During the Edo period (1603-1868), it was re-built.

The temple is also called bamboo temple, or take-no-tera (竹の寺). The approach to the temple is unique: A bamboo grove grows around the temple and creates a mysterious atmosphere. The main hall has a beautiful small garden with several Jizo stone sculptures. Since there are few visitors, it is the perfect spot to sit and contemplate while looking at the old garden.

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How to get there
Jizō-in is situated close to Saihō-ji, the moss temple, in the picturesque Arashiyama mountains to the west of Kyoto. Although you need to change trains, it is not very complicated to get there. First get to Katsura station by taking the Hankyu Kyoto line. In Katsura, change to the cute trains of the Hankyu Arashiyama line to get to Matsu-o station. From there, you can take bus 78 to get to Koke-dera. After that, it is only a short walk to the temple.

You can also go directly from Kyoto station with bus 28 until Matsuo-Taisha-mae and walk around 15 min in southern direction. From the Sanjō station of the Keihan line, you can take bus 63 to the final stop ‘Koke-dera’.

Opening hours
9am to 4:30pm
Jan. 10 – Feb. 10: Closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays

500 Yen

EN: 23, Yamada Kitanocho, Nishikyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 615-8285, Japan
JP: 〒615-8285 京都府京都市西京区山田北ノ町23




Hōsen-in is a sub-temple of Shorin-in. One of its highlights is the garden in front of a bamboo background, that is framed by the pillars of the tatami room like a painting.
A special delight is to sit in the tatami room and enjoy a bowl of green tea while looking at the garden.

A gloomy reminder of the many wars and battles in Japan’s history are the ceilings and floor boards of the temple. The wood is stained with blood. They have been imported from Fushimi castle, the site of a mass suicide in 1600. The boards of the castle have been given to different temple as a way to commemorate the soldiers who gave their lives.
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How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Ohara line bus towards Ohara (大原). It takes a little more than 1 hour to get to Ohara. Hosen-in is behind Sanzen-ji, so just follow the other visitors to Sanzen-ji (600m to the east) and then walk further uphill (north) for 200 meters.

Opening times
9am – 5pm

800 yen including matcha tea and Japanese sweets

Kyoto-shi, Sakyo-ku, Ohara Shorin-in-cho 187


Hōkoku-ji is a small Zen temple in Kamakura, world-famous for its bamboo grove of more than 2000 Mōsō bamboos. It is also called Take-dera (Bamboo temple) for that reason.

The temple was founded in 1334, a time of turbulence and unrest in Japan. The Kamakura shogunate had just been defeated, and the first Ashikaga shogun Takauji established his rule in Kyoto. Takauji’s grandfather, Ashikaga Ietoki, ordered Zen priest Tengan Ekō to found Hōkoku-ji. Just as the famous garden designer and Zen priest Musō Kokushi, Tengan was a disciple of priest Mugaku Sogen, the founding priest of Engaku-ji in Kita-Kamakura.

This temple became the family temple of the Ashikaga clan as well as the Uesugi clan. Both families shared the power in Kamakura. In 1439, the temple became the scene of a family drama: Shogun Yoshinori attacked Kamakura to re-establish his power in the east. The Kamakura ruler, Ashikaga Mochiuji and his son Yoshihisa were forced to kill themselves to escape capture. Hōkoku-ji is the place the 13 year old Yoshihisa chose for the ritual suicide by disembowelment better known as Seppuku (切腹) or Harakiri (腹切り) .

After the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923, most buildings had to be rebuilt – none of the original structures remain. Still, old stone lanterns, gorinto gravestones and the yagura tomb caves make the thousand year old past come alive.

There is a small tea house hidden away behind the cool bamboo grove. For 600 yen, visitors receive a bowl of powdered green tea and traditional Japanese sweets. The carefully maintained Zen garden behind the main hall is also a nice place to rest and take in the atmosphere.

Contents of the eBook:
  • Introduction
  • History of the temple
  • Stone Lanterns, gorinto and Buddha statues
  • Bamboo in the garden
  • Plants in the garden
  • The Zen garden
  • The Tea garden
  • Yagura

12 pages filled with all necessary information about the garden and packed with
47 excellent garden pictures

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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How to get there
Take the bus 鎌23 from the Kamakura main station. After 6 stops (about 8 min), get off at the bus stop Jōmyō-ji (浄明寺). From the bus stop, walk a few meters back, cross the street and walk straight ahead until you get to the gate of Hōkoku-ji temple.

Opening Times
9am – 4pm

300 yen for the bamboo garden

7-4, Jomyoji 2-chome, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0003

Bamboo in the Japanese garden(竹と笹)

In Japan, you can encounter bamboo everywhere – In the mountains, near rivers, in strolling gardens, tea gardens and private residences. Timber bamboo is used to build houses, roofs, scaffolding, windows, blinds, and fences. Whether it be chopsticks, brooms, flutes, brushes, fans or the most fragile tea scoop – bamboo products are part of the everyday Japanese life.

The plants are equally fascinating – some bamboo varieties need not less than 1 year to reach their full height, one can literally watch them grow! The bamboo shoots are already the same diameter as the later culm and have all the parts complete when they break through the soil. Bamboos can flower as infrequently as every 50 years – some varieties like the Madake flower do so at the same time all over the world!

The slender, erect culms, their cool green color and the sound of the wind in the leaves high above the garden visitor’s head are an integral part of the Japanese garden culture. In this eBook, we want to introduce the most common bamboo varieties and show if and how they can be grown in other climates outside of Japan.

Contents of the eBook
  • Introduction
  • Low growing bamboo
  •   – Azumane-zasa
  •   – Kuma-zasa
  • Medium height bamboo
  •   – Tōchiku
  • Tall growing bamboo
  •   – Mōsō-chiku
  •   – Madake
  •   – Hachiku
  •   – Kuro-chiku
  •   – Kikko-chiku

11 pages packed with 42 stunning pictures of Japanese bamboo

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Tonogayato Teien  (殿ヶ谷戸庭園)

The Tonogayato Teien is a landscape garden, built between 1914 and 1916 (Taisho period) near Tokyo. It was built for the residence of the vice president of the Manchurian Railway company.In 1929, the estate was bought by a member of the Iwasaki family. Nowadays, the garden is enjoyed by young and mid-aged people, and you will probably be the only foreign visitor there.

There is a tea house on the premises that can be rented for tea ceremonies. The garden is a mixture of Japanese and European strolling garden. It is just 20 minutes by train from Shinjuku Station but feels very remote from everyday life in metropolitan Tokyo.

The Gardens
Other Highlights
Anikas Impressions
Around Tonogayato Teien

15 pages full of information about the Tonogayato Garden
41 pictures of the gardens

mobi 25MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF and mobi.

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Tonogayato-teien Trailer
Watch the Tonogayato-teien trailer here.

RJG presents: Tonogayato-teien from Real Japanese Gardens on Vimeo.

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How to get there
From Shinjuku, take the Chuo line towards Kawaguchiko and get off at the fifth stop, Kokubunji (国分寺)。From there, it is only a short walk to the gardens.

Opening times
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Last entry until 4:30 p.m.

150 Yen

JP: 東京都国分寺市南町二丁目
Tokyo-to, Kokubunji-shi, Minami-cho, 2 chome