Shōden-ji  (正伝寺)

Shōden-ji is a small temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. It is tucked away in the mountains in northern Kyoto. The simple Zen garden in front of the Hojo has a great view on the sky and Mt. Hiei.

The garden is said to have been laid out by the famous garden designer and tea master Kobori Enshu in the Edo period (1603-1868), although there is few evidence of that. In the 1930s, the Japanese garden scholar Shigemori Mirei restored the garden that had been altered over the centuries.

The temple’s Hojo, the main hall, has been removed from the castle Fushimi-jo in 1653. In the castle, many samurai commited suicide (Seppuku) during the Sekigahara battle in the year 1600. The floor boards of the castle became the ceiling of the temple to pray for those who gave their lives in the battle. This kind of ceiling is called Chitenjo (血天井).

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Directions

How to get there
The easiest way to get to Shoden-ji is to take the Kyoto city bus number 9 towards Nishigamo Shako-mae (西賀茂車庫前).
Get off after 42 minutes at Jinkoin-mae (神光院前). From there, walk westward for about 750 meter.

Opening times
9am – 5pm

Admission
400 Yen

Address
北区西賀茂北鎮守庵町72
Kita-Ku, Nishigamo-Kitachinjuan-cho 72

Namikawa-ke  (並河家)

Nowadays, the Namikawa residence is a museum of Cloisonné objects by the artist Namikawa. He used to live and work in this house. Because he became internationally successful after exhibiting at the World Fair in Paris in 1878 and 1889, he often had foreign guests staying at his house. For that reason, he built the sliding doors higher than usual and also used a lot of glass instead of paper screens. The garden of the Namikawa-ke is rather small, but well maintained and beautiful.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the city bus number 100 and get off after 7 stops at Higashiyama-Sanjo (東山三条). Walk east for around 300 meters. After you cross the small stream, turn left and walk one block north. Teh museum should be on your left side.

Opening times
10am – 4:30pm

Admission
600 Yen

Address
東山区三条通北裏白川筋東入堀池町388 
Higashiyama-Ku, Sanjo-dori, Urajiro-Kawasuji Horiike-cho 388

Reiun-in (Tōfuku-ji)  (霊雲院 東福寺)

Reiun-in is a sub temple of Tofuku-ji temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. It was built in 1526, and the gardens are said to have been built in 1543 (Muromachi period). Over the centuries, the gardens fell into disrepair and were renovated by the modern Japanese garden master Shigemori Mirei. The southern garden in front of the Shoin, the study, is called “Nine Mountains and Eight Seas”. Both this garden and the garden on the other side of the building clearly has “Shigemori” written all over it. He uses sand of different colors and curvilinear lines in his design.

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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.

Opening times
9am – 4pmt

Admission
300 yen

Ōhashi-ke  (大橋家庭園)

The Ōhashi-ke garden is a private garden in the traditional Fushimi Inari neighborhood in southern Kyoto. It has a special surprise for its visitors: A Suikinkutsu (水琴窟), a musical instrument in the garden. A Suikinkutsu is a jar that is buried in the earth below a water feature. This is the oldest Suikinkutsu in Kyoto. As the water trickles from the basin through a layer of gravel and into the jar, the sound of the water drops is echoed by the walls of the jar. Listening to this soothing sound is said to have a cooling effect on the listener – very welcome on Kyoto’s hot summer days.

We arrived on a sunny Sunday morning and were greeted by the white-haired Ōhashi-san, the owner of the garden. His great-grandfather Ōhashi Jinbei had the garden built in 1913 by Kyoto’s garden master Ogawa Jihee. Ogawa was the 7th generation of a family of Japanese gardeners. This tradition continues until today – every year, the 11th and 12th generation of the family work for two days with 6 to 7 people in the garden. The garden also features a great number of Japanese stone lanterns.

Contents:

Overview
Suikinkutsu – How it works
Stone lanterns of the garden
The tea house resting arbor
Other points of interest

9 pages with detailed information
43 great pictures and illustrations
16MB

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Sound of the Suikinkutsu
Watch the video here and here.

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Directions

Address
京都市伏見区深草開土町
Kyoto, Fushimi-Ku, Fukakusa, Kaidocho

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Nara line towards Joyo. Get off at the second stop, Inari. Then walk in north eastern direction to Fukakusa Kaidocho.

Admission
The Ōhashi-ke is not longer open to the public!

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

Sokushū-in (Tōfuku-ji)  (即宗院)

Sokushu-in is a small sub-temple of Tōfuku-ji. It only open in autumn, which is also the best time to visit it. Unknown to most visitors and a little off the main temples, it is a great place to escape the masses of tourists visiting in Tōfuku-ji in autumn.

The temple was built as a villa for a member of the Fujiwara clan in 1196. In 1387, the temple was founded on the grounds of the old villa.

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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.

Opening times
Only open on special days in autumn,
check this website for more information (Japanese only):
http://www.sokusyuin-sizensou.com/

Shinju-an (Daitoku-ji)  (真珠庵)

Shinju-an was founded in 1491, in honor of the Zen priest Ikkyu, who was the head priest of Daitoku-ji from 1474- 1481. Ikkyu played the main role in reviving the Daitoku-ji temple complex after its destruction in the Onin war. The dry landscape garden and tea house were built in 1638 and are attributed to Kanamori Sowa, who was a tea master from the Japanese Alps.

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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.

Address
EN: 〒603-8231, Kyoto-Shi, Kita-Ku, Murasakino, 52 Daitoku-ji-Chō
JP: 〒603-8231, 京都市 北区 紫野 大徳寺町52

Admission
Open in the first week of November

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.

Contents

Introduction
Daitoku-ji
History of Zuihō-in
-Shigemori Mirei-
Buildings
   -Hōjō
   -Teahouse Yokei-an
   -Teahouse Anshō-ken
   -Teahouse Heisei-tai-an
   -Gates
Gardens
   -Entry Garden
   -Dokuza-tei
   -Kanmin-tei
   -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

PDF 15 MB

 
 

Zuiho-in Video

Watch the Zuiho-in video here.

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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
075-491-1454

Opening hours
9am – 5pm