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.

  • 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.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:


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).

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


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

500 Yen

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.

  • 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

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:
Watch the Adachi Museum of Art video here.


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.

2.300 Yen

Zuihō-in (Daitoku-ji)  (瑞峯院)

Zuihō-in is an extraordinary temple in Kyoto: It was founded by daimyo Otomo, who was one of the early Christians in Japan. He founded the temple as his family temple; he and his wife are buried here as well. Garden designer Shigemori Mirei, who created the gardens in 1961, included a Garden of the Cross and even a statue of the Virgin Mary in reference to the founder.

The temple itself was built in 1546, after the Onin war (1467-77), so many of its building have never burnt and are still in their original shape.

The main garden to the south of the Hōjō is called Dokuza-tei (独坐庭 ). The Chinese characters mean Alone-Sitting-Garden and refer to an Island of the Taoist mythology. From the famous Horai-Zan, the Mountain of the Blessed, a long and thin peninsula protrudes into the rough sea. Even further away is a single island, sitting alone in the rough waters of the wide sea. If you look at the garden, it is actually really easy to see the Horai-zan in the right-hand corner, the peninsula in front of it and the rough sea.


History of Zuihō-in
-Shigemori Mirei-
   -Teahouse Yokei-an
   -Teahouse Anshō-ken
   -Teahouse Heisei-tai-an
   -Entry Garden
   -Tea gardens
Anika’s Impressions
Recommendations around Zuihō-in
Access & General Information
Related eBooks

12 pages full of information about the temple
21 pictures of the gardens



Zuiho-in Video

Watch the Zuiho-in video here.

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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.

400 Yen

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


Opening hours
9am – 5pm

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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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.

Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-city


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

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

500 Yen

Tōfuku-ji – Garden of the Hōjō  (東福寺)

Tōfuku-ji is one of the Five Great Zen temples in the Kyoto Mountain system. It is a temple complex in southern Kyoto with 24 sub-temples.

Its garden were redesigned by the scholar Mirei Shigemori in the 1930s. He had studied the traditional Japanese gardens for decades before starting to design gardens himself. He built his designs on the old garden design principles, and connected them to the contemporary Japanese design of that time. The result are impressive gardens like the four gardens of Tōfuku-ji that surround the hōjō, the former head priest’s quarters.

Another remarkable feature of this tempe is the big mountain gate (山門 – San-mon) to the south of the garden. It is the oldest San-mon in Japan. The temple was built in 1236 (Kamakura period), and the founding priest is Enni Ben’en, a Japanese priest that went to China to study Zen buddhism. He is also believed to have imported the Udon wheat noodles, until today one of the most popular dishes in Japan.

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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 the temple.

400 yen

Opening Times
April – October: 9am – 4:30pm
Novemer – early December: 8:30am – 4:30pm
mid December – to March: 9am – 4pm

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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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.

500 Yen

Opening times
9am to 5pm

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.

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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.

Meigetsu-in  (明月院)

Every year in June, after the rain season has begun, and the air gets hot and damp, thousands of visitors from Tokyo and Kamakura surge to the Meigetsu-in temple in Kita-Kamakura. This is the time, when the temple’s ajisai (紫陽花), the hydrangeas, are in full bloom and look their best.

Meigetsu-in is now a temple of the Rinzai Zen school of Buddhism. It was founded in 1383 (Muromachi period) by Uesugi Norikata, a powerful statesman of the Uesugi clan.

Apart from the hydrangea, which gave the temple its nickname Ajisai-dera (紫陽花寺), it is famous for an excellent dry landscape garden and the round windows of the main temple buildings. Like all Kamakura gardens, it is also beautiful in autumn when the leaves change color.

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How to get there:

Meigetsu-in is a 10 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura station on the JR Yokosuka Line, one station before Kamakura station when coming from Tokyo.

300 Yen, in June 500 Yen

Opening hours
9am-4pm, in June 8:30am to 5pm