Giō-ji  (祇王寺)

This temple in Kyoto’s lovely Sagano district has a small moss garden. Surrounded by dense trees, it is a very quiet and relaxed place.
In autumn, when the leaves change, it is especially beautiful.

The temple is also mentioned in the Japanese classic Heike Monogatari (Tale of the Heike). The dancer Gio retreated to this temple after a powerful leader of the Taira-clan ended the relationship with her. Wooden statues of her, her mother and sister and Taira-no-Kiyomori ass displayed in the temple.

  •  Click to view details
eBook Coming…

Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the JR Sanin Main line towards Sonobe (園部) from platform 32, 33. Get off after 16 minutes at the sixth stop Saga-arashiyama (峨嵐山).
If you prefer to go by bus, take the Kyoto city bus No. 28 or Kyoto bus No. 71 (for Daikaku-ji, 大覚寺) from Kyoto main station and get off after 50 minutes at Saga-Shakado-mae.

From there, walk about 20 minutes towards the west.

Opening times
9am – 5pm

Admission
500 yen

Address
〒616-8435 京都府京都市右京区嵯峨鳥居本小坂町32

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.

  •  Click to view details

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

Murin-an  (無鄰菴)

Murin-an is a typical strolling garden of the Meiji period (1868-1912). It was built between 1894 and 1896 by Yamagata Aritomo, a Prime Minister of Meiji period Japan. As much as he loved the Japanese garden culture, he also had a deep interest in Western culture. The villa on the grounds of Murin-an has dark rooms, painted walls and a paneled ceiling and is a rare example of western style architecture.

The garden was realized by the Japanese master gardener Ogawa Jihee. The garden uses the eastern hills of Kyoto as a viewpoint, which let it appear as an extension of the mountain scenery. This technique is called shuzan – 主山. It has a small stream that is fed by the waters of Lake Biwa, Japan’s biggest lake. Large parts of the garden are lawn, probably an influence of English landscape gardens. The Japanese style villa has a tea room – why not sit down on the veranda and have a bowl of fresh Matcha green tea while admiring the garden?

  •  Click to view details
eBook Coming…

Directions

How to get there
Murin-an is in the neighborhood of Nanzen-ji and Heian-jingu shrine in eastern Kyoto. It is situated south of the Kyoto Zoo. Take the city bus number 5, 57, 32 or 100 to Doubutsu-en-mae (動物園前 – Kyoto Zoo). When you get off the bus, walk south and cross the bridge, then go to your left, in eastern direction, following the Niōmon-dori (仁王門通り). Before Niōmon makes a right turn, there is a really small street to your right. Turn into that street and you will find a Murin-an’s small entrance gate to your left.

Opening hours
Apr. – Sep. 9:00 ~ 6:00
Oct. – Mar. 9:00 ~ 5:00

Holidays:
December 29th – December 31st.

Admission
410 Yen
Will be raised to 600 Yen from October 1, 2019

Address
JP: 31 南禅寺草川町、左京区 京都市 京都府 606-8437
EN: 31 Kusakawa-cho, Nanzenji, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8437

Kyōto Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace)  (京都御所)

The Imperial Palace in Kyoto has been the seat of the Emperor from the Heian period (794-1185) until the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). After the Edo period, the Tenno and his court moved to the Old Edo, which then became the official capital of Japan and changed its name to Tokyo – Capital of the East.

The palace and garden are within the old palace enclosure but were built much later, during the Edo period (1855). The style is loosely based on the Heian shinden-zukuri style, with large gravel courtyards and a small pond garden.

Access to the garden is only granted free of charge. Tours are held in Japanese, Chinese, and English. English tours are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You can apply for them by visiting the Visitors Room on the right side of the entrance.

[Updated: 10/2018]

  •  Click to view details
eBook Coming Soon…

Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Karasuma line to Marutamachi station (丸太町, 4 stops, 7 minutes). From there, enter the Kyoto-gyoen and go to the entrance of the Sentō-Gosho in the center of the park.

If you prefer to go by bus, take the city bus 205 and get off at the bus stop Furitsu-idaibyouin-mae (府立医大病院). The bus stop is to the east of the Kyoto-gyoen, enter the park and walk in a westwards direction.

Address
JP: 〒602-0881 京都府京都市,上京区京都御苑
EN: Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 〒602-0881

Opening hours

September & March 9 a.m. – 3:50 p.m. (Last admission) 4:30 p.m. (Closing time)
October – February 9 a.m. – 3:20 p.m. (Last admission) 4 p.m. (Closing time)
April – August 9 a.m. – 4:20 p.m. (Last admission) 5 p.m. (Closing time)
Closed: Mondays (if Monday is a holiday, the palace will close on Tuesday instead.)
December 28 – January 4

Admission
Entrance is free.

Kōsei-in  (廣誠院)

A small temple of the Rinzai school of Buddhism. The interior has wonderful Fusuma-e (screen paintings) and a view on the walled garden.

Taking pictures is not allowed inside the temple, but the garden is definitely worth a visit.

  •  Click to view details

Directions

How to get there
Take the Kyoto city bus 205 from Kyoto station and get off at the eighth bus stop Shiyakusho-mae (京都市役所前). It takes about 18 minutes.

A faster alternative would be to take the Karasuma subway until Karasuma-oike (烏丸御池) and change to the Tozai line. After two stops, get off at Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae.

From Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae, walk a block in northern direction, and after you have passed the Hotel Okura, turn right.

Admission
Only open in early November, the entrance fee is 800 Yen.

Kiyosumi Teien  (清澄庭園)

The Kiyosumi gardens are said to have been part of the residence of the businessman Kinokuniya Bunzaemon in the Edo period (1603-1868). In the Meiji period, the founder of Mitsubishi, Iwasaki Yataro, bought the land and remodeled the garden to entertain guests as well as for the enjoyment of his employees.
Today it is famous for its very special stones, collected from all over Japan.

Contents:
Introduction
History
Buildings
Stones and Stone Constructions
Other Highlights
Anikas Impressions
Around Kiyosumi garden

14 pages full of information about the Kiyosumi Garden
31 pictures of the gardens

PDF 20MB
mobi 25MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF and mobi.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

Kiyosumi-teien Video

  •  Click to view details

Directions

How to get there
Kiyosumi-Shirakawa station is the closest to the garden. It is served by the Hanzomon and Oedo Metro lines. From the station, walk 100m south.

Opening times
9am – 5pm (last entrance at 4:30)

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

Admission
150 Yen

Address
JP: 東京都江東区清澄二・三丁目
EN: Tokyo, Koto-ku, Kiyosumi 2-3Chome

Nezu Museum  (根津美術館)

The Nezu museum is a private collection of Japanese and Asian art – from calligraphy to painting, ceramics, and textiles. The industrialist and president of the Tobu railway company, Nezu Kaichiro was an avid art collector. The site of the museum and garden used to be his private residence, which he bought in 1906. After his death in 1940, his son founded the museum to preserve the collection. In World War II, however, the museum and gardens were severely destroyed.

The hilly garden has two ponds that are connected by small streams. Upon every turn of the numerous winding paths, you can see a new garden lantern, memorial stone, Buddha or Kan’non statue. The garden also has some well-preserved tea houses. Near the main building, you can find a modern cafe. The wide window front on three sides lets you enjoy the garden while having a light lunch or coffee and cake.

Contents

Introduction
History
Buildings
Stone Works
Highlights
Anikas Impressions
Around the Nezu Museum

14 pages full of information about the Nezu Museum
41 pictures of the garden

PDF 17MB
mobi 27MB

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

 
 

Nezu-Museum Trailer
Watch the Nezu-Museum trailer here.

RJG presents: The Nezu Museum from Real Japanese Gardens on Vimeo.

  •  Click to view details

Directions

How to get there
The closest metro station is Omotesando. Chiyoda line, Ginza line and Hanzomon line stop here. Use exit 4 or 5 and walk down the small end of Omotesando towards south east. After 400m you should reach the museum.

Opening times
10am – 5pm (last entry 4:30pm)

Admission
1000 Yen for the general exhibition

Address
JP: 東京都港区南青山6丁目5−1
EN: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Minami-Aoyama 6-chome 5-1