Kankyū-an(官休庵)

Sen no Rikyu is the most famous Japanese tea master and founder of the Japanese way of tea. After his grandson died, his heirs founded three different schools of the Japanese way of tea. One of these schools is Mushanokōjisenke.

Ichiō Sōshu, Sen no Rikyu’s great grandson, he set up his own tea house, called the Kankyū-an (官休庵), on Mushakōji street. It has a famous tea garden, which is closed to the public.

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Directions

How to get there
Take the Karasuma line from Kyoto station and get off at Imadegawa Station (今出川駅).
From there walk about 8 minutes in south western direction until you get to Nishi-Mushanokouji-cho.

Admission
Not open to the public

Hamarikyū Teien  (浜離宮恩賜庭園)

The Hamarikyū garden is a large strolling garden directly next to Tokyo bay. It was built by the shogun Tokugawa in the Edo period (1603-1868). The garden’s ponds are connected to the Tokyo bay so the water level of the ponds changed with the tide. Large parts of the garden were reed fields, and the southern garden was used by the Shogun’s family for falconry and duck hunting.

With the Meiji Restauration in 1868, the Tokugawa shogunate fell and the imperial family built a detached villa on the grounds of the garden. This is also where the garden’s name comes from – Hama (浜) means “beach”, “seashore”; and rikyū (離宮) means “detached palace”. Teien (庭園) is a word for “garden” or “park”.

The garden has meandering ponds interconnected by little streams. There is a tea house on the middle island (中島 – Nakashima) of the southern pond, a plum grove (visit in late February to March), a 300-year-old pine tree and a field of wildflowers (cosmea and rape flowers). It is a nice garden to take a long walk. Because the garden is large, you rarely meet other visitors.

A free audio guide in English is available at the ticket gates – it has several guided tours, but it also allows you to roam around freely and just gives you information when you come to an important part of the garden.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Mountains
  • Highlights
  • Flowers
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Hamarikyū garden


20 pages full of information about the Hamarikyū garden
38 pictures of the gardens

PDF 27MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
To get to Hamarikyu gardens, take the Yamanote line to Shinbashi (新橋駅) or the Oedo line to Shiodome(汐留駅)。Walk eastwards from there.
There is also the possibility to go by boat from Asakusa to the garden. But since the boat is quite low, often you don’t see more than the quay walls. The entrance fee to the garden is included in the fare.

Address
東京都中央区浜離宮庭園1-1
1-1 Hamarikyu Teien, Chuo, Tokyo

Telephone
03-3541-0200 ‎

Admission
300 Yen

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

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

Hakone Moss Garden - Museum of Art(箱根美術館)

The moss garden of the Hakone Museum is a small mysterious landscape. Under 200 maple trees, small stone paths are winding through fields of moss. The climate of the Hakone mountains is perfect for the moss. During the rain season between June and July, the moss gets plenty of water to thrive, and the dappled shade of the momiji (紅葉, Japanese for maple tree) makes sure it gets enough light to be a bright green, but does not get burned by the strong Japanese summer sun. There are over 130 varieties of moss in the garden.

There is also a small Chinese bamboo garden and a Japanese landscape garden. You can have tea in the tea house Shinwatei (真和亭).

The museum was established in 1952 by Okada Mokichi(岡田茂吉, 1882-1955), a collector of Asian art. There is earthenware pottery from the Jomon period (13.000BC to 300BC) until the Edo period (1603-1868) on display.

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Directions

How to get there
A fast and uncomplicated way to get to the Hakone area is to take the Odakyu Bus from Shinjuku station in Tokyo. It leaves every 30 minutes and it takes around 2 hours under good traffic conditions. Get off at Togendai and get on the Hakone Ropeway, go to the last stop, Sounzan and change to the cute red Hakone Tozan Cable car. You can choose to either get off at Koenkami station and walk three minutes or go to Gora Station and walk uphill for ten minutes.

Another nice option is to take the Odakyu Railway ‘Romance Car’ from Shinjuku station to Hakone-Yumoto station. It takes about 90 minutes and costs 2020 Yen. From Hakone-Yumoto, you can get on the Hakone Tozan cable car and to Gora station and walk from there.

Admission
900 Yen

Opening hours
April-November: 9:30am to 4:30pm
December-March: 9:30am to 4:00pm

The garden is closed on every Thursday (except for November), and between December 25th and 31st and January 4th and 7th.

Address
EN: 1300 Gora, Hakone-machi Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 〒250-0408
JP: 〒250-0408 神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町強羅1300

Telephone
(0460)82-2623

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

Erin-ji(恵林寺)

Erin-ji is a quiet Zen temple surrounded by the Yamanashi mountains. It was built in 1330, when Nikaidō Sadafuji the military governor of the Kai-no-kuni administration asked the Zen priest and garden designer Musō Soseki (夢窓 疎石), also known as Musō Kokushi, to found the temple.

At that time, it was a Rinzai Zen temple of the Engaku-ji branch. It was destroyed in the Ōnin war (1467-77), but rebuilt when the Takeda samurai clan appointed it to be their family temple. In 1541, it changed to be a temple of the Myōshin-ji branch of the Rinzai school. The famous daimyo Takeda Shingen (武田 信玄) is buried here.

It is quite surprising that you only see a few visitors in the temple, given its importance, size and beauty. There is a small dry landscape garden and a big pond garden. Especially the pond garden is impressive. The temple also features a nightingale floor whose wooden boards squeak, when a person (or ninja) tries to sneak up to the building.
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Contents:
  • Introduction
  • The monk and the garden
  • Cold fire and spiritual enlightenment
  • Architectural features of the temple
  • The Zen garden


10 pages, packed with
42 great Japanese garden pictures
in 14 MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
From Shinjuku station, take the JR Chuo Line (中央線) to Enzan Station (塩山駅). With the Rapid train, this takes about 1hour and 25 minutes. From there take the bus and get off at the bus stop called “Erin-ji”.

Telephone
0553-33-3011

Address
2280 Oyashiki Enzan , Koshu City 404-0053

Admission
300 Yen

Opening hours
8:30am – 4:30pm

Customer’s Voice

I’d never heard of Erin-ji before I read this ebook. The pictures are stunning and I’m surprised the garden and temple are not more widely known because they look absolutely gorgeous! The book also had the perfect amount of history – enough to give you an understanding, but not so much that you felt overwhelmed. Gorgeous book and looking forward to reading more..and going to Erin-ji sometime, of course!

N.R.

Daisen-in (Daitoku-ji)(大徳寺、大仙院)

Do you want to experience Zen Buddhist philosophy first hand and meet a zen priest that makes you laugh? Do you want to find out where key persons of the Japanese history have lived and worked? Daitoku-ji and its sub-temple Daisen-in are the places to go. Here, the influential tea master Sen no Rikyu underwent strict Zen training in his early years and, as an accomplished tea master, held tea ceremonies for the Shogun under the roof of Daisen-in.

The Daitoku-ji is a temple complex with numerous sub-temples in the northern part of Kyoto. It is one of the main temples of the Rinzai school. In the height of the 16th century it became one of Kyoto’s most important temples.

The subtemple Daisen-in is one of the five most important Zen temples in Kyoto. It has five small extraordinary well maintained gardens. The gardens are all connected and tell the metaphorical story of journey through life according to Buddhism. Within the grounds of the Daitoku-ji, the Daisen-in has a position of particularly high rank. It is one of the few examples of Zen temples from the Muromachi period that still have their original form. The temple was founded in 1509 and by Kogaku Soko and was built between 1509 and 1513. Legend has it, that Soami, the great landscape designer, zen monk, and ink painter, has built the garden with his own hands. With this eBook you can discover the hidden meanings of stone arrangements, gravel patterns and the use and position of particular plants.

Contents
  • Introduction
  • Historical Background – The Muromachi period
  • History of the temple and the Garden
  • Daitoku-ji – Buildings and Highlights
  • Daisen-in – The gardens and their meaning
  • Questions for Hayano-San
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Eating and Drinking
  • How to get there
9 pages
20 illustrations
3.1 MB

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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
075-491-0019

Opening hours
9am-4.30pm

Adachi Museum of Art  (足立美術館)

Adachi Zenko, a textile wholesaler from Shimane prefecture, opened the museum with its gardens in 1980. At this time he was already 71 years old. Adachi Zenko loved Japanese paintings and gardens since his youth. At the time he could afford it, he started to collect wonderful works of Japanese painters. When he decided to open a museum, it was an easy decision where: back in his hometown to show respect and gratitude.

There are several gardens around the museum. The main garden is the Dry Landscape Garden, but we can also find the Moss Garden, the Tea Garden, the Pond Garden, which is the oldest garden on the grounds, and the White Gravel and Pine garden, a tribute to works of Yokoyama Taikan.

The eBook about this garden was published with the support of the Adachi Museum of Art.

Content:
  • Introduction
  • Adachi Zenko
  • The six gardens of the Museum
  •   – The Reception Garden
  •   – The Moss Garden
  •   – The Tea Garden
  •   – The Dry Landscape Garden
  •   – The Pond Garden
  •   – The White Gravel and Pine Garden
  • Exhibitions in the main building and annex
  • Cafes and Restaurants
  • The gardener’s work – Anika’s Impressions
  • Opening hours and access
  • Around the Adachi Museum of Art


14 pages full of information about the Adachi Museum of Art
28 pictures of the gardens

PDF 13MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Watch the Adachi Museum of Art video here.

Directions

Address
EN: 320 Furukawa-cho, Yasugi, Shimane, 692-0064, JAPAN
JP: 〒692‐0064 島根県安来市古川町320

How to get there
The museum lies in a rural part of Japan in the Shimane prefecture.
From JR Okayama Station or Yonago or Izumo Airport take a JR train to Yasugi Station.
There is a free Shuttle Bus leaving every 20 min for the Adachi Museum of Art.

Opening times
April – September: 9:00 – 17:30
October – March: 9:00 – 17:00
Annex will close every other month for two days to change the exhibits.

Admission
2.300 Yen

Kenchō-ji(建長寺)

Kenchō-ji is the oldest Zen training monastery in Japan and holds the highest rank in the Kamakura Five-Mountain system (五山). It was built in the Kamakura period (1192-1337), the construction was finished in 1273.

The layout of the temple follows the Chinese Ch’an (Zen) tradition, all the buildings are arranged on an axis. The garden can be found in the end of the temple complex, behind the Hōjō, the quarters of the head priest. Musō Soseki, a famous Zen priest, poet and garden designer, is said to have built the garden. The garden is a typical Zen garden, which uses few plants and materials. The pond in the garden reminds of the shape of the character 心, which stands for mind, heart and is an important element in Zen Buddhism.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • Historical background – Kamakura period
  • History of the temple
  • The temple and gardens
  • Flowers and plants in the garden
  • Questions for Hayano-San
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Eating and Drinking
  • How to get there


14 pages
55 illustrations
21 MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
Kenchō-ji is a 15-20 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura Station on the JR Yokosuka Line, one station before Kamakura Station when coming from Tokyo.
It can also be reached in about a 15 minute walk from Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine.

Address JP: 神奈川県鎌倉市山ノ内8
Address EN: Kanagawa-Ken Kamakura-Shi Yama-no-uchi 8

Admission
300 Yen

Opening hours
8:30am to 4:30pm