Shisen-dō(詩仙堂)

Shisen-dō is is a temple of the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism. It was built in the early Edo period (1641) as a retirement villa for Ishikawa Jōzan. Ishikawa Jōzan was a poet and calligrapher.

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eBook Coming…    

Directions

How to get there
The easiest way to get to Shisen-do is to take the Kyoto city bus number 5 from Kyoto station. It takes around 50 minutes and 25 bus stops to get there. Get off at Ichijoji Sagarimatsucho (一乗寺下り松町) and walk 4minutes in uphill in eastern direction.

Admission
500 Yen

Opening times
9:00am – 5:00pm

Sentō Gosho (Sentō Imperial Palace)(仙洞御所)

The Sentō Imperial Palace was built in 1630 as Emperor Go-Mizunoo’s retirement residence. Several fires have burnt down the buildings over the time, and the Sentō Imperial Palace was never reconstructed. The gardens stem from the year 1630, designed by the famous garden designer and tea master Kobori Enshu.

Since at that time in Japan all the military and political power was with the Shogunate, and not the Imperial Court, the nobility had time to study and appreciate traditional Japanese art forms like poetry, calligraphy and tea ceremony. So, emperor Gomizunoo was a highly educated man with refined taste and contributed considerably to the design of the villa and gardens.

The garden designer was Kobori Enshu (小堀 遠州), a tea master and artist. Together they designed the garden, which was originally divided by a wall into a North and a South section with two separate villas for the emperor and the empress.

The gardens are laid out around a large pond with several islands, six different bridges and paths that lead around it. There are also two tea houses in the garden.

Access to the garden is only granted to guided tours (free of charge). You can apply for a tour at the Imperial Household Agency Office in Kyoto (3 Kyoto-gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8611) or on their website:
ttp://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english . Tours are held only in Japanese, but an English language audio guide is available.

This eBook is about the Ishi-doro, the Japanese stone lanterns in the garden.

Contents of the eBook:
  • Introduction to Japanese stone lanterns
  • Brief history of the Sento Gosho gardens
  • Japanese stone lanterns along the garden paths:
  •   Stone lantern – Ishi-dōrō (石燈篭)
  •   Christian lanterns – Kirishitan-dōrō (キリシタン燈籠)
  •   Snow-viewing lantern – Yukimi-dōrō (雪見燈籠)
  •   Buried stone lanterns – Ikekomi-dōrō (活け込み燈籠)
  •   Korean stone lanterns – Chōsen-dōrō (朝鮮燈籠)
  •   Oribe stone lanterns (織部燈籠)


7 pages with
21 pictures about the stone lanterns of the Sentō Gosho garden.

The eBook comes as pdf.



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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Karasuma line to Marutamachi station (丸太町, 4 stops, 7 minutes). From there, enter the Kyoto-gyoen and go to the entrance of the Sentō-Gosho in the center of the park.

If you prefer to go by bus, take the city bus 205 and get off at the bus stop Furitsu-idaibyouin-mae (府立医大病院). The bus stop is to the east of the Kyoto-gyoen, enter the park and walk in a westwards direction.

Addess
JP: 〒602-0881 京都府京都市,上京区京都御苑
EN: Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 〒602-0881

Admission
Entrance is free, but only granted to guided tours. See above for application.
A limited number of tickets is given out for three time slots each day at around 11am. First comes first serves.

Sengan-en(仙巌園)

Sengan-en was built as a second residence by Shimadzu Mitsuhisa, 19th head of the Shimadzu family, in 1658. The garden covers an area of approximately 50,000㎡ and is designated as meishō (名勝) – a national place of scenic beauty.

Sengan-en is perhaps best known for its use of shakkei (借景) borrowed scenery. Active volcano Sakurajima acts as a tsukiyama (築山), an artificial hill present in Japanese gardens, and Kinkō Bay forms the pond.

The residence was heavily influeneced by Chinese and Ryukyuan culture due to its location in the South of Japan. The Bōgakurō pavilion (望嶽楼) is constructed in Ryukyuan style, and was used to host important guests. The Kyokusui garden (曲水庭), used yearly for Kyokusui no En (曲水の宴) – a traditional poetry composition event, is based on Chinese culture.

The house, lived in by successive generations of the Shimadzu family (daimyo family in the Edo period), has regular guided tours and guests can enjoy the private inner garden while drinking matcha and eating a traditional Japanese sweet.

The area around Sengan-en was instrumental in the modernization of Japanese industry, and in July, 2015 Sengan-en and Shōko Shūseikan, now a museum and once Japan’s first factory, were recognized as World Cultural Heritage Sites related to Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution.

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Directions

How to get there
The garden can be reached by walking from Kagoshima Station. The walk takes about 40 minutes.

By bus
From Kagoshima Chuo Station (Kagoshima City View Bus, Machi Meguri Bus) 30 minutes by bus – get off at the Sengan-en Mae (仙巌園前) bus stop

From Kagoshima Station
(Nangoku Kotsu Bus, Iwasaki Bus) 10 minutes by bus – get off at the Sengan-en Mae (仙巌園前) bus stop

Address
JP: 鹿児島県鹿児島市吉野町9700-1 〒892-0871
EN: 9700-1 Yoshino-chō, Kagoshima City, Japan 892-0871

Opening hours
8:30am – 17:30pm (All year round)

Admission
1000 Yen (+600 Yen for guided tour through the house)

Ritsurin Kōen(高松栗林公園)

This pond strolling period garden was built over the time of more than 100 years – in 1625, daimyo Ikoma Takatoshi began the construction works in the city of Takamatsu. In 1745, the garden was finished. It has six ponds that are all interconnect by little stream, a tea house, an artificial hill and an artificial waterfall. It takes 1 to 2 hours to view the entire garden.

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eBook Coming Soon…

Directions

How to get there
3 min walk from JR Ritsurin-koen-kitaguchi Station (栗林公園北口)

Address
1-20-16 Ritsurin-cho Takamatsu City、Kagawa-Ken
〒760-0073 香川県高松市栗林町1丁目20−16

Telephone
087-833-7411

Admission
410 Yen

Opening hours
From sunrise to sunset.
January  7:00 – 17:00
February  7:00 – 17:30
March  6:30 – 18:00
April  5:30 – 18:30
May  5:30 – 18:30
June  5:30 – 19:00
July  5:30 – 19:00
August  5:30 – 19:00
September  5:30 – 18:30
October 6:00 – 17:30
November 6:30 – 17:00
December 7:00 – 17:00

Rikugien(六義園 )

One of the most beautiful gardens in Tokyo, the Rikugien offers a quiet resting and strolling place in the hectic Tokyo life. It is situated in the quiet neighborhood of Komagome and Sugamo (Bunkyo ward), which are also worth a visit.

The garden is a strolling garden of the Edo period (1603-1868). Samurai Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu built the garden with the permission of the shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi between 1695 and 1702. Originally, 88 famous views from Japanese and Chinese landscapes have been imitated in miniature form in this garden, however, only 32 remain today. The garden’s name translates literally Six Rules Garden and refers to the six basic rules of Waka poetry. Waka translates as “Japanese Poem”, and has its roots in the Heian period (794-1185).

Rikugi-en is one of Tokyo’s finest gardens and offers the visitor an ever-changing landscape. Although its square footage is considerable, the garden feels closed and intimate. We recommend enjoying the view over the garden while having a bowl of green matcha tea in the tea house.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Highlights
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Rikugien

17 pages full of information about the Rikugien Garden
39 pictures of the gardens

PDF 25MB

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Rikugi-en Video
Watch the Rikugi-en video

Directions

How to get there
The garden is hidden in the quiet neighborhood of Komagome and Sugamo in the north of central Tokyo, but can be reached conveniently by the Yamanote line or the Namboku line, Komagome station. The garden is south of the station.

Address
JP: 東京都文京区本駒込六丁目
EN: 6 Chome Honkomagome Bunkyō-ku, Tōkyō

Admission
300 Yen

Opening times
9:00am – 5:00pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Closed between December 29th and January 1st

Nanzen-ji(南禅寺)

Nanzen-ji is the name of a temple and the surrounding temple complex at the foot of Kyoto’s eastern mountains (Higashi-yama). It was built in the Heian period (794-1185) on the grounds of Tennō Kameyama’s detached palace. The emperor was in favor of Zen Buddhism and supported the relatively new religion, introducing it to the aristocratic circles. It is the head temple of the Nanzen-ji branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism.

Of special importance is the dry landscape garden (kare-sansui) in front of the Hōjō, the head priest’s quarters. The fusuma-e, the paintings on wooden sliding doors, are also impressive. They have been painted by painters of the famous Kanō school.

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Directions

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

As for the subway, Keage Station on the Tozai line is a short 7-10 minute walk away. If you prefer to go by bus, take bus number 5 and get off at Nanzenji-Eikando-michi.

How to get there
Take city bus number 5 and get off the bus at the Nanzen-ji bus stop. Walk about 10 minutes in eastern direction.

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

Telephone
075-771-0365

Opening hours
December-February: 8:40am – 4:30pm
March-November: 8:40am – 5pm

The temple is closed from December 28th to 31st.

Admission
500 Yen

Mibu-dera(壬生寺)

Mibu-dera was established in 991 by the monk Kaiken and is one of Kyoto’s oldest temples. Since Kyoto has see a lot of wars, fires and other catastrophes over the centuries, none of the original building has survived until today. There is a stone garden south of the Shoin, the study rooms of the temple. It was also damaged in a big fire on the site and had to be rebuilt in 1811.

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Directions

How to get there
Take city bus no. 28 from Kyoto station towards Daikaku-ji (大覚寺). Get off after 8 stops (around 15 minutes) at Mibu-dera-dori. From there head south and you will see the temple after 400 meters.

Opening times Museum
8:30am – 16:30pm
The garden is only open during special occassions.

Admission
200 Yen

Address
JP: 京都市中京区壬生椰ノ宮町31
EN:Kyoto-shi, Nakakyo-ku, Mibunaginomiya-cho 31

Kyū-Shiba-Rikyū Teien(旧芝離宮庭園)

The Kyū-Shibarikyū garden is a former imperial garden in southern Tokyo. It is a typical pond strolling garden (回遊式泉水庭園) from the Edo period. The land it is built on was reclaimed from the Tokyo bay in 1658. The premises were the residence of daimyō Ōkubo Tadatomo, a politician of the Edo shogunate. The layout is typical for Samurai-style architecture (Buke-zukuri – 武家造). The owners changed again and again over the time until after the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), it was purchased by the imperial household and became the Shiba Detached Imperial Villa.

While the gardens in north Tokyo (Rikugi-en and Koishikawa garden) have a secluded feel to it, Kyū-Shibarikyū feels open and airy. The surrounding high rise buildings, the landmarks of modern Tokyo are a striking contrast to the overall softness of this over 300 year old garden. The garden itself is magnificent – immaculately maintained, small enough to oversee from one of the vantage points, and large enough to discover new views and perspectives with every turn of the path. Jenny’s absolute favorite garden in Tokyo.

Contents:
Introduction
The Pond
Rocks in the garden
Fences in the garden
Paths in the garden
Plants in the garden
The garden in winter

13 pages packed with detailed information about this Daimyo garden
63 great pictures of the garden, its rocks, ponds and plants

14MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
The garden is conveniently located next to the Hamamatsu-chō station(浜松町) of the Yamanote line. Just walk 1 minute to the west and you will get to the entrance gates.
The subway station Daimon (大門) is 3 minutes away. Use the Oedo line and Asakusa line to get here.

Address
JP: 東京都港区海岸 1-4-1
EN: 1-4-1 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Admission
150 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 3rd.

Kyōto Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace)(京都御所)

The Imperial Palace in Kyoto has been the seat of the Emperor from the Heian period (794-1185) until the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). After the Edo period, the Tenno and his court moved to the Old Edo, which then became the official capital of Japan and changed its name to Tokyo – Capital of the East.

The palace and garden are within the old palace enclosure but were built much later, during the Edo period (1855). The style is loosely based on the Heian shinden-zukuri style, with large gravel courtyards and a small pond garden.

Access to the garden is only granted free of charge. Tours are held in Japanese, Chinese, and English. English tours are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You can apply for them by visiting the Visitors Room on the right side of the entrance.

[Updated: 10/2018]

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Directions

How to get there From Kyoto station, take the Karasuma line to Marutamachi station (丸太町, 4 stops, 7 minutes). From there, enter the Kyoto-gyoen and go to the entrance of the Sentō-Gosho in the center of the park.

If you prefer to go by bus, take the city bus 205 and get off at the bus stop Furitsu-idaibyouin-mae (府立医大病院). The bus stop is to the east of the Kyoto-gyoen, enter the park and walk in a westwards direction.

Address
JP: 〒602-0881 京都府京都市,上京区京都御苑
EN: Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 〒602-0881

Opening hours
September & March 9 a.m. – 3:50 p.m. (Last admission) 4:30 p.m. (Closing time)
October – February 9 a.m. – 3:20 p.m. (Last admission) 4 p.m. (Closing time)
April – August 9 a.m. – 4:20 p.m. (Last admission) 5 p.m. (Closing time)
Closed: Mondays (if Monday is a holiday, the palace will close on Tuesday instead.)
December 28 – January 4

Admission
Entrance is free.

Koishikawa Korakuen(小石川後楽園)

The Koishikawa garden, formally called Koishikawa-kōraku-en (小石川後楽園), is a small garden jewel in Tokyo. Well preserved from the Edo period (1603-1868), it is one of the oldest gardens in Tokyo. The daimyo and son of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Tokugawa Yorifusa started to build the garden in 1629, and his son Tokugawa Mitsukuni finished it in 1669 with the help of the Chinese scholar Shu Shunsui.

The garden features several scenes that represent famous Japanese and Chinese landscapes. As typical for strolling gardens, there is a pond in the middle of the garden, and a path that leads around it. The garden master designed the garden that the visitor sees a different scenery, a different view every few steps. The pond of the garden is fed by the water of the nearby Koishikawa river (Little stone river).

Especially the nearby Tokyo dome, the tower of the Bunkyo Civic Center with the sky view lounge, and the screams from the small amusement park’s roller coaster make clear that this garden is a sweet little oasis in the middle of Tokyo.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Lanterns
  • Waterfalls
  • Stones
  • Highlights
  • Flowers
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Koishikawa Korakuen

23 pages full of information about the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
56 pictures of the gardens

PDF 10MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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TESTIMONIAL
Since moving to Tokyo, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with many people who share my interests, particularly in the food and garden category. One of those new acquaintances is Anika, who is part of the team behind Real Japanese Gardens. After exchanging numerous emails and bonding over our mutual love of gardens (though her actual gardening knowledge far outstrips mine!), she kindly sent me a copy of one of their e-books, a guide to Koishikawa Korakuen. So early in September, with e-book in hand (or rather in iDevice), I trotted off to one of Tokyo’s most well-known metropolitan gardens to “road test” the guide.

Read more

Uncover

Japan

Directions

How to get there
To get to the Koishikawa gardens, you can either go directly to Koshikawa station (小石川駅) with the Marunouchi or Namboku line or take the Sobu line or Mita line to Suidobashi station (水道場所).
But the nearest Station is IIdabashi, which is served by the Sobu-Line, Tozai-Line, Namboku-Line, Yurakucho-Line and Oedo-Line.

Address
JP: 東京都文京区後楽1-6-6
EN: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Opening times
9am – 5pm (last entrance at 4:30)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 1st.

Admission
300 Yen