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).
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.
9am – 5pm
Kita-Ku, Nishigamo-Kitachinjuan-cho 72