Ninna-ji  (仁和寺)

Ninna-ji is one of Kyoto’s oldest temples. It was founded in 888 (Heian period) by emperor Oda. From that time on until the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), the position of the temple’s head priest was always held by a son of a reigning emperor. Naturally, the temple was the center of the tennō’s supporters, but lost influence under the ruling of the Muromachi shogunate in the Muromachi period.

It burned down completely during the Ōnin war, but was rebuilt between 1641 and 1646. The garden in front of the Shinden was rebuilt in 1914. It has a pond and can be viewed from the veranda. The buildings are all connected with covered walkways that are characteristic for Shinden style architecture, the architecture of palaces and aristocratic residences in the Heian period (794-1185).

Although Ninna-ji is really close to tourist magnets like Ryoan-ji and Myoshin-ji, it has significantly less visitors. The buildings and gardens are well-maintained and some superior artwork is on display on the sliding doors in the study room.

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Directions

How to get there
Kyoto, Ukyo-ku, Ouchi Omuro 33
Take the Kyoto city bus 8, 10, 26 or 59 to the stop Omuro-Ninna-ji and walk in northern direction.

Address
JP: 〒616−8092 京都府京都市右京区御室大内33
EN: 33 Omuroouchi,Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 〒616-8092

Admission
500 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 4.30pm (Dec – Feb)
9am – 5pm (Mar – Nov)

Shōden-ji  (正伝寺)

Shōden-ji is a small temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. It is tucked away in the mountains in northern Kyoto. The simple Zen garden in front of the Hojo has a great view on the sky and Mt. Hiei.

The garden is said to have been laid out by the famous garden designer and tea master Kobori Enshu in the Edo period (1603-1868), although there is few evidence of that. In the 1930s, the Japanese garden scholar Shigemori Mirei restored the garden that had been altered over the centuries.

The temple’s Hojo, the main hall, has been removed from the castle Fushimi-jo in 1653. In the castle, many samurai commited suicide (Seppuku) during the Sekigahara battle in the year 1600. The floor boards of the castle became the ceiling of the temple to pray for those who gave their lives in the battle. This kind of ceiling is called Chitenjo (血天井).

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Directions

How to get there
The easiest way to get to Shoden-ji is to take the Kyoto city bus number 9 towards Nishigamo Shako-mae (西賀茂車庫前).
Get off after 42 minutes at Jinkoin-mae (神光院前). From there, walk westward for about 750 meter.

Opening times
9am – 5pm

Admission
400 Yen

Address
北区西賀茂北鎮守庵町72
Kita-Ku, Nishigamo-Kitachinjuan-cho 72

Reiun-in (Tōfuku-ji)  (霊雲院 東福寺)

Reiun-in is a sub temple of Tofuku-ji temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. It was built in 1526, and the gardens are said to have been built in 1543 (Muromachi period). Over the centuries, the gardens fell into disrepair and were renovated by the modern Japanese garden master Shigemori Mirei. The southern garden in front of the Shoin, the study, is called “Nine Mountains and Eight Seas”. Both this garden and the garden on the other side of the building clearly has “Shigemori” written all over it. He uses sand of different colors and curvilinear lines in his design.

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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.

Opening times
9am – 4pmt

Admission
300 yen

Shinju-an (Daitoku-ji)  (真珠庵)

Shinju-an was founded in 1491, in honor of the Zen priest Ikkyu, who was the head priest of Daitoku-ji from 1474- 1481. Ikkyu played the main role in reviving the Daitoku-ji temple complex after its destruction in the Onin war. The dry landscape garden and tea house were built in 1638 and are attributed to Kanamori Sowa, who was a tea master from the Japanese Alps.

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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.

Address
EN: 〒603-8231, Kyoto-Shi, Kita-Ku, Murasakino, 52 Daitoku-ji-Chō
JP: 〒603-8231, 京都市 北区 紫野 大徳寺町52

Admission
Open in the first week of November

Zuihō-in (Daitoku-ji)  (瑞峯院)

Zuihō-in is an extraordinary temple in Kyoto: It was founded by daimyo Otomo, who was one of the early Christians in Japan. He founded the temple as his family temple; he and his wife are buried here as well. Garden designer Shigemori Mirei, who created the gardens in 1961, included a Garden of the Cross and even a statue of the Virgin Mary in reference to the founder.

The temple itself was built in 1546, after the Onin war (1467-77), so many of its building have never burnt and are still in their original shape.

The main garden to the south of the Hōjō is called Dokuza-tei (独坐庭 ). The Chinese characters mean Alone-Sitting-Garden and refer to an Island of the Taoist mythology. From the famous Horai-Zan, the Mountain of the Blessed, a long and thin peninsula protrudes into the rough sea. Even further away is a single island, sitting alone in the rough waters of the wide sea. If you look at the garden, it is actually really easy to see the Horai-zan in the right-hand corner, the peninsula in front of it and the rough sea.

Contents

Introduction
Daitoku-ji
History of Zuihō-in
-Shigemori Mirei-
Buildings
   -Hōjō
   -Teahouse Yokei-an
   -Teahouse Anshō-ken
   -Teahouse Heisei-tai-an
   -Gates
Gardens
   -Entry Garden
   -Dokuza-tei
   -Kanmin-tei
   -Tea gardens
Anika’s Impressions
Recommendations around Zuihō-in
Access & General Information
Related eBooks

12 pages full of information about the temple
21 pictures of the gardens

PDF 15 MB

 
 

Zuiho-in Video

Watch the Zuiho-in video here.

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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
400 Yen

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
075-491-1454

Opening hours
9am – 5pm