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
10am – 4pm

Admission
500 yen

Address
岩倉幡枝町 389
389 Hataeda-cho Iwakura Sakyo-ku

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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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 – 4:30pm

Admission
300 yen

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

Funda-in (Tōfuku-ji)  (芬陀院 東福寺)

Funda-in is a sub-temple of Tofuku-ji temple in Kyoto. It was built in 1321, in the Kamakura period, as a family temple for the Ichijo clan. In 1691, the buildings of the temple burnt down, but the temple was rebuilt soon after. There are two main gardens and a smaller garden in the temple. The ink painter and Zen monk Sesshu is said to have designed the southern Zen garden between 1460 and 1468. The temple is therefore also commonly called Sesshū-ji. In 1939, the modern garden master Shigemori Mirei restored the garden and added the eastern garden.

Despite its calm beauty and historical relevance, the temple is often overlooked by visitors on their way to the main temple or more famous sub-temples like Reiun-in or Ryogin-an. Chances are you can enjoy the temple all by yourself if you come on a weekday.

14 pages with
44 pictures of one of Kyoto’s most beautiful secret gardens

Content:
Introduction
History of the temple and garden
The architecture of the temple building
The south garden
The east garden
Personal impressions by the author (See free preview)

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

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Directions

Adress
〒605-0981 京都府京都市東山区本町15丁目803
〒605-0981 Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Honmachi 15-803

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. The temple is situated close to the Chumon gate of Tōfuku-ji.

Opening times
9am-5pm

Admission
300 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
8:30am – 16:30pm
The garden is only open during special occassions.

Admission
100 Yen

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

Kōzan-ji (Ikō-an)  (高山寺, 遺香庵)

Kōzan-ji is one of the oldest temples in the larger Kyoto area. It belongs to the Shingon sect of Buddhism and is said to have been founded first in 744 by the imperial orders of Emperor Kōnin. There is however no evidence for this fact. In 1206, it was revived by priest Myoe as a training monastery. The Sekisui-in is the only building of the temple that dates back to the Kamakura period, the others have burnt down and been replaced over the centuries. Since 1994, Kozan-ji is part of the World Cultural Heritage.

The temple is situated in Takao-san’s foothill forests. Autumn is an especially good time to visit the temple, which is famous for its autumn colors.

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Directions

How to get there
Take a JR bus from Kyoto station for Toganoo or Shuzan. It takes about an hour to get there. Intermediate stops include Shijo-Omiya, Ryoan-ji-mae, Takao and Makinoo.

Opening times
9am – 5pm

Admission
600 Yen

Address
京都府京都市右京区梅ケ畑栂尾町8
Kyoto City, Ukyo-ku, Umegahata, Togano-o-cho 8

Telephone
075-861-4204

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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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 late November/ early December, between 9am-4.30pm