Konchi-in(金地院 南禅寺)

Konchi-in is a sub-temple of the Nanzen-ji temple complex. The temple was built in the early 15th century by shogun Ashikaga Yoshimochi (足利義持). In 1605, it was relocated from northern Kyoto to its present location inside the Nanzen-ji temple complex. A few years later, between 1611 and 1632, the garden was built in preparation of the shogun’s visit. It is fairly certain that the famous garden designer and tea master Kobori Enshu (小堀遠州) has built the garden. A lot of gardens around Kyoto have been attributed to him, but in contrast to these, the creation process of this temple garden is very well documented.

The garden is said to have been designed as a two dimensional picture, not unlike a fusuma-e (襖絵)、a painting on the wooden screen that often depict landscape scenes and nature. Indeed, the garden can only be viewed from the veranda of the Main Hall of the temple. A wide band of light gray gravel separates the rock arrangements from the viewer. The main feature of the garden is the duo of Crane and Turtle island, arranged with rocks and shrubs.

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Directions

How to get there
Take city bus number 5 and get off the bus at the Nanzen-ji bus stop. Walk about 8 minutes in eastern direction. As for the subway, Keage Station on the Tozai line is a short 7-10 minute walk away.

The most beautiful way to get to Nanzen-ji and its sub-temples is to walk the picturesque Philosopher’s path, which connects Nanzen-ji and Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion.

Address
Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-city
京都市左京区南禅寺福地町

Admission
500 Yen
Gardens

Kajū-ji(勧修寺)

Kajū-ji、sometimes pronounced as Kanshu-ji, is the head temple of the Yamashina school of Shingon Buddhism. It was founded in year 900 (Heian period) by the emperor Daigo.

The garden has a large island pond with a great number of water lilies, iris and lotus. It is said that the ice of this pond had been collected on January 2nd of every year to be send to the Imperial Palace. Another feature of the garden is an uncommonly shaped stone lantern.
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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Tokaido/Sanyo line from platform 11 or 12 towards Omishiotsu. Get off the train after 5 minutes at the first stop Yamashina (山科) and change to the Tozai line towards Rokujizo (六地蔵). After 3 stops (6 minutes), you will arrive at Ono station (小野). From there, walk west, cross the river and you will get to the temple within 7 minutes.

Opening times
9am – 4pm

Admission
400 Yen

Address
JP: 京都府京都市山科区勧修寺仁王堂町27-6
EN: 27-6 Kanshuji Niodocho, Yamashina Ward, Kyoto, 607-8226
Gardens

Jizō-in(地蔵院)

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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Directions

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

Admission
500 Yen

Address
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

Telephone
075-391-3631

Gardens

Hōsen-in(宝泉院)

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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Directions

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

Admission
800 yen including matcha tea and Japanese sweets

Address
京都市左京区大原勝林院町187
Kyoto-shi, Sakyo-ku, Ohara Shorin-in-cho 187
Gardens

Happō-en(八芳園)

Nowadays, the beautiful Happō-en gardens serve mainly as a backdrop for traditional Japanese wedding parties and banquets. There is a kaiseki restaurant overlooking the Japanese garden and a tea house where visitors can get a bowl of green tea and Japanese sweets.

The Japanese garden has been built in the early 17th century in the old Edo’s gentle hills, and a natural stream runs through it. In the early 1915, the industrialist Fusanosuke Kuhara (久原 房之助) remodeled the garden and built most of today’s buildings.

Most of the bonsai trees in the garden are over 100 years old, one of them is 520 years old. The Suichin (水停) is a waterside resting arbor that seems to float above the pond.

Contents:
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Restaurants & Chapels
  • The Gates
  • Stone Works
  • Other Highlights
  • Anika’s Impressions
  • How to get there
  • Around Happō-en

15 pages full of information about Happō-en
37 pictures of the garden

PDF 20MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
The closest station is Shirokane-dai (白金台). Namboku line and Mita line connect the station to the Yamanote ring line (Meguro station). In Shirokane-dai, take exit No. 2 to get to the garden.

Admission fee
No admission fee

Address
JP: 〒108-0071 東京都港区白金台1−1−1
EN: 〒108-0071 Tokyo, Minato-ku, Shirokanedai 1-1-1

Telephone
03-3443-3111
Gardens

Entsū-ji(圓通寺)

The Emperor Go-Mizuno abdicated in 1629 and began to built this villa and garden as a retirement residence. It took him 13 years to find the right place for it with a nice view on Mt. Hiei – The temple is famous for its borrowed scenery (shakkei). After the emperor died, the residence became a Zen Buddhist monastery.

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Directions

How to get there
Take the Karasuma line from Kyoto station (platform 1) towards Kokusai-kaikan (国際会館). Get off after 15 minutes at the 8th stop Kitayama station (北山).
From the station, head east on Kitayama-dori (北山通) After 130 meters turn left and continue to follow the road (40) for 1.6km. You will walk through a residential area, then a small wooded area. On the other side of the hill you can find Entsu-ji.

Opening times
April – November: 10am – 4:30pm
December – March: 10am – 4pm

Admission
500 yen

Address
京都市左京区岩倉幡枝町 389
389 Hataeda-cho Iwakura Sakyo-ku
Gardens

Chion-in(知恩院)

The Chion-in is the headquarters of the Jōdo-shū (Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) founded by priest Hōnen (1133–1212). The original temple was built in 1234 by Hōnen’s disciple, Genchi (1183–1238). It’s Sanmon is the oldest Mountain gate in its original form in Japan, it was built in 1619.

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Gardens

Directions

How to get there
Take the Kyoto city bus 100 from Kyoto station. After 18 minutes and 6 stops, get off at Gion (祇園). From Gion, walk through Maruyama park (円山公園) until you get to the temple. It should take about 10 minutes.

Opening times
9am – 3:50pm (last admission)

Admission
300 Yen (Yūzen’en Garden)
400 Yen (Hōjō Garden)
500 Yen (both gardens)

Address
京都市東山区新橋通大和大路東入三丁目林下町400
Kyoto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Shinbashi-dori, Yamato-Oji-higashi, 3 chome, Rinka-cho 400

Kōraku-en(後楽園)

The Kōraku-en gardens are a large strolling garden with a meandering stream and belong to the Three Great Gardens in Japan. They have been built in 1700 (Edo period) by the lord of the Okayama area, Ikeda Tsunamasa. It took more than 13 years to finish the construction works. Although the park was used for the amusement of the daimyo family and their guests, regular people also were allowed to visit the gardens on special days.

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Directions

How to get there
From Okayama station, take the tram towards Higashiyama (東山). After 3 stops, get off at Shiroshita (城下). From there, walk straight ahead for 350m and cross the bridge.

You can also take a bus to the gardens: From Okayama station, go to bus terminal 4 and take the bus headed for Fujiwara Danchi.

Opening times
March 20 – September 30: 7:30am – 6pm.
October 1 – March 19: 8am – 5pm

Admission
410 yen
An audio guide is available for 500 yen.

Address
〒703-8257, 岡山県岡山市北区後楽園1-5
Korakuen 1-5, Kita-ku, Okayama City 703-8257
Gardens

Kenroku-en(兼六園)

Kenroku-en is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. It was built in the Edo period (1603-1868) for the Maeda daimyo clan. It used to be the outer garden of the Kanazawa castle. The garden has a large pond and several panoramic views around it. The oldest fountain of Japan can also be found here.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kanazawa station (金沢), you can take a taxi to get to Kenroku-en (10 minutes) or walk the 2 kilometers (about 30 minutes).

Opening times
March-October 15th: 7am-6pm
October 16th-February: 8am-5pm

Admission
320 yen
“Kenrokuen+1 Tickets”, which allow admission to Kenrokuen Garden and one more cultural facility within the city, are also available for purchase for 500 yen.

Address
石川県金沢市兼六町1-4
Ishikawa-Ken, Kanazawa-Shi, Rokuen-cho 1-4
Gardens

Kairaku-en(偕楽園)

Kairaku-en is a large strolling garden in Mito-Shi, Ibaraki-Ken. It was built by Tokugawa Nariaki in the year 1841 for the enjoyment of normal people of the area. The garden belongs to the Three Great Gardens of Japan. The best season to visit the garden is in early spring, when the plum trees start to bloom.

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Directions

How to get there
The garden belongs to Mito-city. From Ueno station in Tokyo, you can take the JR Hitachi line ‘Fresh Hitachi’ towards Katsuta or ‘Super Hitachi’ towards Iwaki (platform 16/17). After one hour and about 10 minutes, get off at Mito (水戸). From the station, walk two kilometers in western direction, take a taxi or the bus to get to Kairakuen.

Opening times
Mid February – September 30: 6am – 7pm
October 1 – Mid February: 7am – 6pm

Admission
– free
– During Plum Blossom festival 300 Yen
– Kobutei 200 Yen (Closing 5pm in summer, 4:30pm in winter/
Closed Dec. 29 – Jan. 3)

Address
〒310-0912 水戸市見川1-1251偕楽園公園
Mito-shi Migawa 1-1251 Kairakuen-Koen

Gardens