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.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:
  •  Click to view details
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

Shinjuku Gyoen(新宿御苑)

Surprisingly, Shinjuku Gyoen has one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in Tokyo. It is a vast park and has different garden sections: a Japanese garden with two ponds connected by a small river, a formal French garden with roses en masse and an English Landscape garden.

The park used to be the residence of the Naitō daimyō clan and was built in the Edo period (1603-1868). In the Meiji period (1868-1912), the Imperial Household Agency took over the garden and remodeled it for the imperial family in 1906. It was completely destroyed in the Second World War in 1945. In 1949, the gardens were opened to the public for the first time.

Especially in spring, between end of March and end of April, the Japanese garden is worth a visit when more than 1500 cherry trees turn the landscapes in all shades of white and pink. The perfectly round trimmed azaleas shine in a bright pink and purple in May and June. There is also a Japanese tea house with a marvellous view of the pond, surrounded by a tree panorama that manages to screen out Tokyo’s modern buildings.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Gardens
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Shinjuku Gyoen


17 pages full of information about the Shinjuku Gyoen
33 pictures of the gardens

22MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

Directions

How to get there
You can get to the park by either walking in a westward direction from Shinjuku Station or Yoyogi Station or take the Marunouchi line to Shinjuku-Gyoen-Mae station (新宿御苑前). Another subway station close by is Shinjuku San-chome (新宿三丁目), served by Marunouchi line, Shinjuku line and Fukutoshin line.

Admission
500 yen

Opening times
10/1 – 3/14 9:00am to 4:00pm (closes at 4:30)
3/15 – 9/30 9:00am to 5:30pm (closes at 6:00)
7/1 – 8/20 9:00am to 6:30pm (closes at 7:00)
Closed on Mondays and between December 29th and January 3rd

Tel
+81-(0)3-3350-0151

Address
11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

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.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:
  •  Click to view details

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)

Sankei-en(三溪園)

This beautiful landscape garden in Yokohama is one of Japan’s youngest gardens. Construction works began in 1902 and it was opened to the public in 1906. The founder of the garden, Sankei Hara, a silk trader from Yokohama, has collected numerous buildings from all over Japan. Japanese buildings can often be dismantled and put together in another place. This is what Sankei did to preserve these historically significant buildings.

The garden has several ponds and streams. In the outer garden, next to the main pond, the Main Hall and three-storied pagoda of Tōmyō-ji temple in Kyoto have been rebuilt.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:
  •  Click to view details
eBook Coming…    

Directions

How to get there
From the Yokohama main station, take bus number 8 towards Honmoku-Shako (本牧車庫) and get off at Honmoku-Sankei-en-mae. From there, walking in south western direction, follow the signs toward the park entrance.

Address
58-1 Honmokusannotani, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

Admission
700 yen

Openting times
9am – 5pm (last entrance 30 before closing time)
Not open between December 29th and 31st.

Saihō-ji (Koke-dera)(西芳寺 (苔寺))

The garden of Saihō-ji is acclaimed by many as Kyoto’s most beautiful garden and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage. It is especially famous for its moss garden, for which reason it is also commonly known as Moss temple or Koke-dera (苔寺).

In 1339, the famous Zen monk Musō Soseki became the head priest of the temple and remodeled the garden. For him, creating gardens was part of his zen meditation routine. He founded a lot of temples and built or remodeled their gardens, but Saihō-ji is clearly his masterpiece.

Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408, 足利義満) sat here in meditation in the upper part of the garden commemorating the garden’s creator Musō Soseki.
Yoshimitsu’s grandson shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1435-1490, 足利善政) loved this garden so much that he modeled his own retreat, the Temple of the Silver Pavillion – Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺), after Saihō-ji. Famous monks of different Buddhist sects have been head priests of the temple – namely Kūkai (774-835), Hōnen (1133-1212) and Musō Soseki (1275-1351).
During the Edo period the temple fell into disrepair. It must have been at this time that moss slowly encroached the garden until it covered all of it. Today, there are roughly 120 types of moss in the garden.

The best times to view the garden are during the rainy season (mid-June until mid-July) and in autumn, when the red and orange of the maple’s leafs contrast nicely with the lush green of the velvety moss.

Contents
  • History of the temple
  • Buildings of the temple
  • Musō Soseki’s Garden
  • Philosophy
  • The Moss
  • The Lower Garden
  • The Upper Garden
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Registration process
  • How to get there
  • Literature


18 pages
84 illustrations
19.3 MB
2012

The eBook comes as pdf in self-print format.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

Directions

How to get there
Saihō-ji is situated 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 a bus to get to Koke-dera (it says so big in big letters on the front of the bus). 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’.

Address
Saihō-ji Temple 56 Jingatani-cho Matsuo Nishikyo-ku Kyoto, 615-8286, Japan
京都府京都市 西京区松尾神ヶ谷町56

Telephone
075-391-3631

Admission
Visiting the temple and its garden is only possible with previous registration by a return postcard (往復ハガキ). You will be told on the return post card a time and date when visiting is possible. The entrance fee is 3.000 Yen.
Online reservation is now possible for 4.000 Yen.

Ryōgin-an (Tōfuku-ji)(龍吟庵)

The Ryōgin-an is famous for its three gardens designed by the modern Japanese garden designer Shigemori Mirei in 1964. In contrast to the gardens, the temple and its buildings are really old. At first, it was the residence of the 3rd head priest of Tōfuku-ji, who also founded the famous temple complex Nanzen-ji. After his death in 1291, his quarters were converted into a temple in the late 14th century.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:
  •  Click to view details
eBook coming…    

Directions

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.

Address JP:
〒605-0981 京都府京都市東山区本町15丁目812
Address EN: Kyoto-fu Kyoto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Honcho 15-812

Admission
Special admission times apply. Admission included in general admission for the Hojo garden.

Opening hours
10:00am to 4:30pm

Ryōan-ji(龍安寺)

Ryōan-ji is maybe the most famous rock garden of Japan.

Ryoan-ji was built on the grounds of a villa of the Fujiwara clan in the Heian period (794-1185). The deputy of the shogun and warlord Hosokawa Katsumoto bought the estate in 1450 and built his residence on it, together with the temple Ryōan-ji.

It was destroyed in the Onin War, but rebuilt in 1488 by Katsumoto’s son Matsumoto. It is possible that the garden of the temple was also created at that time, but some scholars argue that it was built earlier by Katsumoto or later, for example, by Zen monk and garden designer Sōami, who also built the dry landscape garden (karesansui) of Daisen-in.

The temple burnt down in 1797, and the garden was recreated later. As a print of the year 1799 shows, the garden today hasn’t changed since that time.

Apart from little patches of moss around the stones, this Japanese garden has no plants. Behind the mud wall a row of trees create a green backdrop for the garden, making the light gray sand seem even brighter. The design is more complex than it seems at first – for example is it impossible to view all 15 stones at once from any angle of the terrace. The composition is also a fine example for the delicate balance of mass and void and the skillful use of numbers and groups.

Contents of the eBook
  • Introduction
  • History of the temple
  • The Rock Garden of Ryoan-ji
  • Around the Rock Garden
  • Sub temples of Ryōan-ji
  • Around the pond
  • How to get there
  • Other temples near Ryoanji

15 pages
37 illustrations/pictures
30 MB
2015

eBook will be delivered as PDF.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

Directions

How to get there
Two bus lines are getting you to Ryoanji – Either take city bus number 50 to the last stop Ritsumeikan-Daigaku-Mae and walk for seven minutes in direction of travel, or take city bus number 59 until the stop Ryoan-ji Mae.
If you are traveling with the trains of the Keifuku Railway line (they look more like trams), you can get off at Ryoan-ji Michi station and walk north for 7 minutes.

Opening hours
March – November: 8:00am to 5:00pm
December – February: 8:30am to 4:30pm

Admission
500 yen

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

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:
  •  Click to view details
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

Raikyū-ji(頼久寺)

Raikyū-ji is an old temple of the Rinzai school of Buddhism. It is unclear when it was founded, but Ashikaga Takauji, the first shogun of the Muromachi period (1337 to 1573) has rebuilt the temple in 1339. The Zen garden was later laid out by Zen monk, garden designer and tea master Kobori Enshu (1579-1647). The garden is a dry landscape garden, with a Horai mountain, and a crane-turtle stone arrangement.

Directions

How to get there
From Okayama main station, get on the JR Yakumo line 23 (platform 2). After roughly 30 minutes and two stops get off at Bitchutakahashi (備中高梁). From there you can walk to the garden (1 km, 15 minutes)

Opening times
9:00am – 5:00pm

Admission
400 Yen

Address
JP: 716‐0016 岡山県高梁市頼久寺町18
EN: Raikyujicho, Takahashi, Okayama 716-0016

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.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:
  •  Click to view details

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