Ryōgin-an (Tōfuku-ji)(龍吟庵)

The Ryōgin-an is famous for its three gardens designed by the modern Japanese garden designer Shigemori Mirei in 1964. In contrast to the gardens, the temple and its buildings are really old. At first, it was the residence of the 3rd head priest of Tōfuku-ji, who also founded the famous temple complex Nanzen-ji. After his death in 1291, his quarters were converted into a temple in the late 14th century.

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eBook coming…    

Directions

How to get there
Take the Nara line from Kyoto station towards Nara. Get off at the first stop, Tōfuku-ji, and walk in southern direction until you get to Tōfuku-ji.

Address JP:
〒605-0981 京都府京都市東山区本町15丁目812
Address EN: Kyoto-fu Kyoto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Honcho 15-812

Admission
Special admission times apply. Admission included in general admission for the Hojo garden.

Opening hours
10:00am to 4:30pm
Gardens

Ryōgen-in (Daitoku-ji)(大徳寺龍源院)

Ryōgen-in is one of Daitoku-ji’s twenty-two sub-temples. It is a rather small temple, but has several superlatives to offer:

→ One of its gardens (Tōkekiko) is Japan’s smallest garden (supposedly).

→ Another of its gardens (Ryūgin-tei) is Daitoku-ji’s oldest garden (maybe).

→ Its meditation hall is Japan’s oldest Hōjō – competing for this title with Ryogin-an of Tofuku-ji.

→ Japan’s oldest gun is on display inside the temple buildings.

The temple was found in 1502 as Daitoku-ji’s sub-temples by the priest Tokei. It belongs to the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism.

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eBook Coming…    

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
350 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 4:20pm

Address
EN: 〒603-8231, Kyoto-Shi, Kita-Ku, Murasakino, 53 Daitoku-ji-Chō
JP: 〒603-8231, 京都市 北区 紫野 大徳寺町53

Telephone
075-491-7635
Gardens

Ryōan-ji(龍安寺)

Ryōan-ji is maybe the most famous rock garden of Japan.

Ryoan-ji was built on the grounds of a villa of the Fujiwara clan in the Heian period (794-1185). The deputy of the shogun and warlord Hosokawa Katsumoto bought the estate in 1450 and built his residence on it, together with the temple Ryōan-ji.

It was destroyed in the Onin War, but rebuilt in 1488 by Katsumoto’s son Matsumoto. It is possible that the garden of the temple was also created at that time, but some scholars argue that it was built earlier by Katsumoto or later, for example, by Zen monk and garden designer Sōami, who also built the dry landscape garden (karesansui) of Daisen-in.

The temple burnt down in 1797, and the garden was recreated later. As a print of the year 1799 shows, the garden today hasn’t changed since that time.

Apart from little patches of moss around the stones, this Japanese garden has no plants. Behind the mud wall a row of trees create a green backdrop for the garden, making the light gray sand seem even brighter. The design is more complex than it seems at first – for example is it impossible to view all 15 stones at once from any angle of the terrace. The composition is also a fine example for the delicate balance of mass and void and the skillful use of numbers and groups.

Contents of the eBook
  • Introduction
  • History of the temple
  • The Rock Garden of Ryoan-ji
  • Around the Rock Garden
  • Sub temples of Ryōan-ji
  • Around the pond
  • How to get there
  • Other temples near Ryoanji

15 pages
37 illustrations/pictures
30 MB
2015

eBook will be delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
Two bus lines are getting you to Ryoanji – Either take city bus number 50 to the last stop Ritsumeikan-Daigaku-Mae and walk for seven minutes in direction of travel, or take city bus number 59 until the stop Ryoan-ji Mae.
If you are traveling with the trains of the Keifuku Railway line (they look more like trams), you can get off at Ryoan-ji Michi station and walk north for 7 minutes.

Opening hours
March – November: 8:00am to 5:00pm
December – February: 8:30am to 4:30pm

Admission
500 yen
Gardens

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.

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
9:00am – 5:00pm

Admission
400 Yen

Address
JP: 716‐0016 岡山県高梁市頼久寺町18
EN: Raikyujicho, Takahashi, Okayama 716-0016
Gardens

Ōbai-in (Daitoku-ji)(黄梅院)

Ōbai-in is one of the secret sub-temples of Daitoku-ji and has one of Japan’s best-designed Japanese gardens. It is only open for a few weeks in November, which is also the best time for visiting.

The temple was founded in 1562 as Ōbai-an (黄梅庵). Tea master and garden designer Sen no Rikyu (at that time 62 years old) is said to have designed the moss-covered garden. It features a Sanzonseki (stone arrangement in form of a Buddhist triad) and a small pond in the shape of a gourd. There is also an unusually shaped lantern brought by daimyo Kato Kiyomasa from his infamous campaign against Korea.

The Kuri is one of the oldest in Japan, and the paintings on the sliding doors (“Seven sages of the bamboo grove”, painted by Unkoku Togan) have survived from the 16th century until today.

Sen no Rikyu is said to have conducted tea ceremonies in one of the tea rooms of the Shoin (study) called Sakumuken (The dream of last night).

If you have a chance to visit this temple in November, make every effort to do so as it has one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan.

Contents of the book
  • Introduction
  • Daitoku-ji
  • History of Ōbai-in
  • Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi

  • Buildings
  • Hondō (Fusuma-e)
  • Shoin
  • Kuri
  • Shōro
  • Kōshin-in
  • Graves

  • Teahouses
  • Fudo-ken
  • Sakumu-ken
  • Kōshun-an
  • Isshi-an

  • Gates
  • Karamon
  • Omotemon

  • Gardens
  • Entry garden
  • Sabutsu-tei
  • Kanza-tei
  • Jikichu-tei
  • Hatō-tei

Anika’s Impressions
Recommendations around Obai-in
How to get there

12 pages
19 pictures of the temple and gardens
10MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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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
600 Yen
(Discount-ticket in combination with Kōrin-in is available.)

Address
EN: 〒603-8231, Kyoto-Shi, Kita-Ku, Murasakino, 53 Daitoku-ji-Chō
JP: 〒603-8231, 京都市 北区 紫野 大徳寺町53

Opening hours
Open only in late November/ early December, and in spring, between 9:00am – 4:30pm
Gardens

Meigetsu-in(明月院)

Every year in June, after the rain season has begun, and the air gets hot and damp, thousands of visitors from Tokyo and Kamakura surge to the Meigetsu-in temple in Kita-Kamakura. This is the time, when the temple’s ajisai (紫陽花), the hydrangeas, are in full bloom and look their best.

Meigetsu-in is now a temple of the Rinzai Zen school of Buddhism. It was founded in 1383 (Muromachi period) by Uesugi Norikata, a powerful statesman of the Uesugi clan.

Apart from the hydrangea, which gave the temple its nickname Ajisai-dera (紫陽花寺), it is famous for an excellent dry landscape garden and the round windows of the main temple buildings. Like all Kamakura gardens, it is also beautiful in autumn when the leaves change color.

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Directions

How to get there:
Meigetsu-in is a 10 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura station on the JR Yokosuka Line, one station before Kamakura station when coming from Tokyo.

Admission
300 Yen, in June 500 Yen

Opening hours
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
in June 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Gardens

Kōrin-in (Daitoku-ji)(興臨院)

Kōrin-in is a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji. It was founded in 1520 as a family temple for the Hatekeyama family. The temple building (Hōjō, 方丈, abbot’s quarter) built in the Shoin architectural style of the Muromachi period. Apart for the Zen garden, the temple is famous for its tea room Kankyo-tei.

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eBook coming…

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
600 Yen
(Discount-ticket in combination with Ōbai-in is available.)

Address
EN: 〒603-8231, Kyoto-Shi, Kita-Ku, Murasakino, 80 Daitoku-ji-Chō
JP: 〒603-8231, 京都市 北区 紫野 大徳寺町80

Opening hours
Open only in autumn, between 10:00 am – 5:00pm

Website with opening time frames
https://kyotoshunju.com/temple/daitokuji-kohrinin/
Gardens

Erin-ji(恵林寺)

Erin-ji is a quiet Zen temple surrounded by the Yamanashi mountains. It was built in 1330, when Nikaidō Sadafuji the military governor of the Kai-no-kuni administration asked the Zen priest and garden designer Musō Soseki (夢窓 疎石), also known as Musō Kokushi, to found the temple.

At that time, it was a Rinzai Zen temple of the Engaku-ji branch. It was destroyed in the Ōnin war (1467-77), but rebuilt when the Takeda samurai clan appointed it to be their family temple. In 1541, it changed to be a temple of the Myōshin-ji branch of the Rinzai school. The famous daimyo Takeda Shingen (武田 信玄) is buried here.

It is quite surprising that you only see a few visitors in the temple, given its importance, size and beauty. There is a small dry landscape garden and a big pond garden. Especially the pond garden is impressive. The temple also features a nightingale floor whose wooden boards squeak, when a person (or ninja) tries to sneak up to the building.
Get the eBook now!

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • The monk and the garden
  • Cold fire and spiritual enlightenment
  • Architectural features of the temple
  • The Zen garden


10 pages, packed with
42 great Japanese garden pictures
in 14 MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
From Shinjuku station, take the JR Chuo Line (中央線) to Enzan Station (塩山駅). With the Rapid train, this takes about 1hour and 25 minutes. From there take the bus and get off at the bus stop called “Erin-ji”.

Telephone
0553-33-3011

Address
2280 Oyashiki Enzan , Koshu City 404-0053

Admission
300 Yen

Opening hours
8:30am – 4:30pm

Customer’s Voice

I’d never heard of Erin-ji before I read this ebook. The pictures are stunning and I’m surprised the garden and temple are not more widely known because they look absolutely gorgeous! The book also had the perfect amount of history – enough to give you an understanding, but not so much that you felt overwhelmed. Gorgeous book and looking forward to reading more..and going to Erin-ji sometime, of course!

N.R.

Gardens

Adachi Museum of Art(足立美術館)

Adachi Zenko, a textile wholesaler from Shimane prefecture, opened the museum with its gardens in 1980. At this time he was already 71 years old. Adachi Zenko loved Japanese paintings and gardens since his youth. At the time he could afford it, he started to collect wonderful works of Japanese painters. When he decided to open a museum, it was an easy decision where: back in his hometown to show respect and gratitude.

There are several gardens around the museum. The main garden is the Dry Landscape Garden, but we can also find the Moss Garden, the Tea Garden, the Pond Garden, which is the oldest garden on the grounds, and the White Gravel and Pine garden, a tribute to works of Yokoyama Taikan.

The eBook about this garden was published with the support of the Adachi Museum of Art.

Content:
  • Introduction
  • Adachi Zenko
  • The six gardens of the Museum
  •   – The Reception Garden
  •   – The Moss Garden
  •   – The Tea Garden
  •   – The Dry Landscape Garden
  •   – The Pond Garden
  •   – The White Gravel and Pine Garden
  • Exhibitions in the main building and annex
  • Cafes and Restaurants
  • The gardener’s work – Anika’s Impressions
  • Opening hours and access
  • Around the Adachi Museum of Art


14 pages full of information about the Adachi Museum of Art
28 pictures of the gardens

PDF 13MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Watch the Adachi Museum of Art video here.
Gardens

Directions

Address
EN: 320 Furukawa-cho, Yasugi, Shimane, 692-0064, JAPAN
JP: 〒692‐0064 島根県安来市古川町320

How to get there
The museum lies in a rural part of Japan in the Shimane prefecture.
From JR Okayama Station or Yonago or Izumo Airport take a JR train to Yasugi Station.
There is a free Shuttle Bus leaving every 20 min for the Adachi Museum of Art.

Opening times
April – September: 9:00 – 17:30
October – March: 9:00 – 17:00
Annex will close every other month for two days to change the exhibits.

Admission
2.300 Yen

Mirei Shigemori Garden Museum  (重森三玲邸)

The Shigemori Residence is a traditional town house (Machi-ya) dating from the middle Edo period (1789). It has a garden and two tea ceremony pavilions, which both were designed by the famous modern Japanese garden scholar and designer Mirei Shigemori.

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eBook Coming…

Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto main station, take the city bus 206. Get off after 17 stops (32 minutes) at the bus stop Kyodai-Seimon-mae (京大正門前).
From there walk 260 meter to the east and turn right at the road fork.

Address
34 Kamiojicho, Yoshida Sakyoku, Kyoto 606-8312, Japan

Contact
Fax +81 (0)75 761 8776 E-mail shima753@hotmail.com


Due to limited access by reservation only.
Explanations in Japanese only.