The Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku-ji)(銀閣寺 (慈照寺))

The second most famous temple in Kyōto and little brother of Kinkaku-ji is the Ginkaku-ji on the eastern hills of Kyōto. It was built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the grandson of the founder of Kinkaku-ji. While the Kinkaku-ji sparkles brightly in its golden coating, the Ginkaku-ji was planned to be covered completely in leaf silver.

However, due to the Ōnin war (1477-87) and the shōguns pursuit of perfection, construction of the estate was postponed again and again and might be the reason that the silver coating was never applied. During renovation works in 2008 it was considered to coat the temple in silver just as it was intended to be, but after a long discussion, the temple’s board came to the conclusion that the concept of Wabi-Sabi is conved better with a wooden temple. As his grandfather Yoshimitsu, Yoshimasa planned to live in this palace after his retirement, isolated from the everyday life outside. Yoshimasa is said to have spent several years on planning the estate, and even chose the stones used for the pond garden himself.

Looking at the pictures of the temple and garden, how would you have planned a villa and garden on this estate if you had the opportunity? While being a less than strong political leader, Yoshimasa was said to be an aesthete, a lover of culture, tea ceremony and a big supporter of Zen Buddhism, even a highly ranked zen practitioner. Envision him taking walks in the garden, enjoying a tea prepared by his tea master or sitting quietly in meditation with a view on the garden.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • Historical Background – The Muromachi period and Ashikaga Yoshimasa
  • History of the temple and the Garden
  • Buildings and garden
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Omiyage from Kyoto
  • How to get there


10 pages
30 illustrations
11 MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
Bus: From Kyōto station, take bus number 5, 17 or 100 and get off at the Ginkaku-ji bus stop (35min, 220yen).
By foot: If you prefer to experience Kyōto by foot, take a walk on the pittoresque Philosopher’s Path (30min from Nanzen-ji).

Address
EN: 〒606-8402, Sakyō-Ku, Ginkaku-ji-Chō 2
JP: 〒606-8402, 京都市左京区銀閣寺町2

Tel
075-771-5725

Opening hours
8:30am-5pm (Mar-Nov)
9am-4:30pm (Dec-Feb)

Admission
500 Yen

Amida-dō Byōdō-in (Phoenix Hall)(平等院 鳳凰堂)

Byodo-in Amida-do by Real Japanese Gardens
The Byōdō-in temple near Kyoto city was built in 998 in the Heian period (794-1192) as residence for Minamoto no Toru.

In 1052, it became a Buddhist temple. A year later, the Amida Hall, also called Phoenix Hall or Hōō-do was built. Until this day, it stands here in is original form.

In front of the Phoenix hall is a pond garden, which symbolizes the Pure Land, the paradise.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Nara line towards Joyo. After 30 minutes and 8 stops, get off at Uji station (宇治). From there it is only a short walk in eastern direction.

Opening times
8:30am – 5:30pm

Admission
300 yen

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)

Shirakawa-in Garden  (白河院庭園)

The Shirakawa-in is a high-class ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) with a small but superb garden. Its history traces back to the early Heian period (794-1185), when the imperial court and the first regent of the Fujiwara clan built their villas on this ground. Later, tennō Shirakawa (1053-1129) abdicated in the age of 44 in favor of his son, became a monk and moved to the Shirakawa-in. From there he reigned as cloistered emperor behind the scenes for 41 more years.

The garden that we see today has been restored by Kogawa Jihee, a famous plantsman of the modern Japan (1860-1933). The garden is a strolling garden with a small pond. There is also a tea house in the southeastern corner. It is a wonderful secret garden, and if you happen to be in the area (Heian-jingu, Nanzen-ji), do stop by and enjoy the atmosphere.

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Directions

How to get there
Shirakawa-in is situated on the north side of the Kyoto Zoo. Take the city bus number 5, 57, 32 or 100 to Doubutsu-en-mae (動物園前 – Kyoto Zoo). From there walk north. When you can see the big Heian Shrine to your left, turn right and follow the street. Shirakawa-in is to your left side.

Address
Kyōto, Sakyō-Ku, Hōshōji-chō 16
Telephone: 075-761-0201

Admission
free

Shōsei-en (Kikoku-tei)  (渉成園)

Shōsei-en is a garden that belongs to Higashi-Hongan-ji, the big temple of the True Pure Land School of Buddhism just north of Kyoto station. The garden is said to have belonged to the residence of the son of tennō Saga and was built in the early Heian period (794-1185). The pond most likely remained from the original design. The garden we see today, was laid out in 1641 after the shogun Tokugawa donated the land to the Hongan-ji. The garden design was probably realized by the intellectual Ichikawa Jozan and artist, tea master and aristocrat Kobori Enshu,

The garden has a pond and some tea houses, cherry trees that are a visitor magnet in spring. It is just a few meters away from the hustle and bustle of Kyoto station. While you can still hear the cars and see some of the surrounding buildings, it is good to see that these beautiful places do exist in modern Kyoto.

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Directions

How to get there
Shōsei-en is not far from the Kyoto station. Take the north exit and walk one block north and then another block in eastern direction. It will take aproximately 7 minutes. You can also take the city bus number 5 to Kawaramachi Shomen.

Admission
500 Yen donation is recommended

Opening hours
9am – 4pm, last entry 3:30pm

Address
Kyoto-Shi, Shimogyo-Ku, Aidanocho-higashiiru, Shimojuzuyamachi-dori, Higashitamamizu-cho 300

Taizō-in (Myōshin-ji)  (退蔵院)

Taizo-in is a small Zen Buddhism temple located in northwestern Kyoto on the quiet and spacious grounds of Myoshin-ji. With its beautiful gardens and treasures of Japanese art, Taizo-in is the oldest and most famous sub-temples of the Myoshin-ji complex. It was founded in 1404 and the gardens are said to have been designed by the painter Kano Motonobu in the Muromachi period.

Taizo-in is open to receive and educate international visitors about Zen culture. Here you can experience Zen meditation, tea ceremony, calligraphy, and temple-stay with a friendly and dedicated staff.

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Directions

How to get there

Take the JR Sanin Main line from Kyoto station (platform 32 or 33) towards Sonobe (園部). After 11 minutes, get off at Hanazono station (花園). From there, walk back 500 meters in north-eastern direction to get to the Myoshin-ji temple complex.

Opening times
9am – 5pm

Admission
500 yen

Address
京都市右京区花園妙心寺町35
Kyoto-shi, Ukyo-ku, Hanazono Myoshin-ji-cho 35

Sanzen-in  (三千院)

Sanzen-in is the main attraction of Ohara, a small village north of Kyoto. It was founded 806 by the monk Saicho that brought introduced the Tendai school of Buddhism to Japan.
It has a moss garden that can be admired from the Shinden. Around the garden are several small stone head sitting in the moss. Their faces are laughing, that is why they are called Warai-jizo (笑い地蔵 – Laughing Buddhas). The best season for this garden is definitely autumn. The leaf changing in Owara starts usually a little earlier than in Kyoto.

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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. Since Sanzen-in is the most popular temple in Ohara, it is easy to find. Just walk 600 meters east.

Opening times
8:30am – 5pm

Admission
600 yen

Address
左京区大原来迎院町540
Sakyo-ku, Ohara Raigouin-cho 540

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
京都府京都市山科区勧修寺仁王堂町27-6

Hōgon-in (Tenryū-ji)  (宝厳院)

Hōgon-in is a sub-temple of Tenryū-ji temple and was first built in 1461 in the middle of Kyoto (now Kamigyo ward).
It burnt down during the Onin War and was rebuilt later.
In Meiji period, it was moved to its present location in Arashiyama next to Tenryū-ji temple.
Hosokawa Yoriyuki had the temple wished to build by Muso Soseki. It was actually constructed by 3rd generation Seichūeikō after his death.

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Directions

How to get there

・Take the JR Saga Line (JR嵯峨野線) to Saga-Arashiyama Station (嵯峨嵐山駅) with 8min walk.
・Take Keifuku-Arashiyama Line (京福電気鉄道嵐山本線) to Arashiyama Station (嵐山) with 5min walk.
・Kyoto Bus (京都バス) Number 71 and 72 to Keifuku-Arashiyama Station (京福嵐山駅前).
・City Bus (市バス) Number 28 to Arashiyama-Tenryū-ji Mae (嵐山天龍寺前).

Follow the road to Tenryū-ji entrance, but go to the left over the parking lot before entering the temple.
Hōgon-in lies to the right side.

Opening times
9:00am – 5:00pm
Opens twice a year.
Next opening: Oct 5 – Nov 8 2019.

Admission fee
500 Yen

Address
京都府京都市右京区嵯峨天竜寺芒ノ馬場町36
Kyoto, Ukyo-ku, Saga-tenryu-ji-susukinobaba-cho 36

Shōren-in  (青蓮院)

Shōren-in is one of the five Monzeki temples of the Tendai sect located in Kyoto.
Since its sixth head priest Dokaku, until the Meiji period every head priest was a member of the imperial family.
This temple, founded in the late Heian period, has two famous gardens.
It is said that the main garden with the ryūjin no ike pond was built by Soami during the Muromachi period.
The other garden, kirishima no niwa, was created by Kobori Enshū during the Edo period.
Although it is well known among foreign and local tourists alike, on visiting it gives a tranquil feeling.

Contents:
Introduction
History
Buildings
Gardens
Highlights
Anikas Impressions
Around Shōren-in

14 pages full of information about the temple
33 pictures of the gardens

PDF 18MB
mobi 23MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF and mobi.

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Shōren-in Trailer
Watch the Shōren-in trailer here.

RJG presents: Shōren-in from Real Japanese Gardens on Vimeo.

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Directions

How to get there
10 min walk from Tozai Subway Line Higashiyama Station (東山駅) or Bus 206 to Chion-in mae (知恩院前)

Address
JP: 〒605-0035 京都府京都市,東山区粟田口三条坊町69−1
69-1 Awataguchi Sanjobo-cho Higashiyama-ku、Kyoto-shi

Admission
500 Yen

Opening hours
7am to 5pm