Hōgon-in (Tenryū-ji)(宝厳院)

Hōgon-in is a sub-temple of Tenryū-ji temple and was first built in 1461 in the middle of Kyoto (now Kamigyo ward).
It burnt down during the Onin War and was rebuilt later. In Meiji period, it was moved to its present location in Arashiyama next to Tenryū-ji temple.
Hosokawa Yoriyuki had the temple wished to build by Muso Soseki. It was actually constructed by 3rd generation Seichūeikō after his death.

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

Directions

How to get there
・Take the JR Saga Line (JR嵯峨野線) to Saga-Arashiyama Station (嵯峨嵐山駅) with 8min walk.
・Take Keifuku-Arashiyama Line (京福電気鉄道嵐山本線) to Arashiyama Station (嵐山) with 5min walk.
・Kyoto Bus (京都バス) Number 71 and 72 to Keifuku-Arashiyama Station (京福嵐山駅前).
・City Bus (市バス) Number 28 to Arashiyama-Tenryū-ji Mae (嵐山天龍寺前).

Follow the road to Tenryū-ji entrance, but go to the left over the parking lot before entering the temple.
Hōgon-in lies to the right side.

Opening times
9:00am – 5:00pm
Opens twice a year.

Admission fee
500 Yen

Address
京都府京都市右京区嵯峨天竜寺芒ノ馬場町36
Kyoto, Ukyo-ku, Saga-tenryu-ji-susukinobaba-cho 36
Gardens

Funda-in (Tōfuku-ji)(芬陀院 東福寺)

Funda-in is a sub-temple of Tofuku-ji temple in Kyoto. It was built in 1321, in the Kamakura period, as a family temple for the Ichijo clan. In 1691, the buildings of the temple burnt down, but the temple was rebuilt soon after. There are two main gardens and a smaller garden in the temple. The ink painter and Zen monk Sesshu is said to have designed the southern Zen garden between 1460 and 1468. The temple is therefore also commonly called Sesshū-ji. In 1939, the modern garden master Shigemori Mirei restored the garden and added the eastern garden.

Despite its calm beauty and historical relevance, the temple is often overlooked by visitors on their way to the main temple or more famous sub-temples like Reiun-in or Ryogin-an. Chances are you can enjoy the temple all by yourself if you come on a weekday.

Content:
  • Introduction
  • History of the temple and garden
  • The architecture of the temple building
  • The south garden
  • The east garden
  • Personal impressions by the author (See free preview)
 14 pages with
44 pictures of one of Kyoto’s most beautiful secret gardens
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

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. The temple is situated close to the Chumon gate of Tōfuku-ji.

Opening times
April – November: 9am – 5pm
December – March: 9am – 4pm

Admission
300 yen

Adress
〒605-0981 京都府京都市東山区本町15丁目803
〒605-0981 Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Honmachi 15-803
Gardens

Tenryū-ji(天龍寺)

The temple was founded by shogun Ashikaga Takauji in 1339, primarily to venerate Gautama Buddha, and its first head priest was Musō Soseki. Construction was completed in 1345. As a temple related to both the Ashikaga family and Emperor Go-Daigo, the temple is held in high esteem, and is ranked number one among Kyoto’s so-called Five Mountains. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”.

There are two different tickets – one for the garden and another for the temple buildings itself. We saw the garden only, but would recommend to buy the temple ticket, as you get to see the garden from the temple and the inside of great fusuma-e, the sliding screen paintings on the inside of the temple.

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

Directions

How to get there
Bus: Take the Kyoto bus 61, 72, or 83, and get off at the stop ‘Arashiyama Tenryuji Mae’. Take the Shi bus 11, 28, or 93, and get off at the stop ‘Arashiyama Tenryuji Mae’.

Subway: Take the Arashiyama line to Arashiyama station and walk about 5 minutes in western direction.

Admission
500 Yen (garden only)
800 Yen (garden and building)

Opening hours 8:30am – 5pm
Last admission: 4:50pm

Address
EN: 68 Saga-tenryuji-susukinobaba-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
JP: 〒616-8385 京都府京都市右京区嵯峨天龍寺芒ノ馬場町68
Gardens

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.
Gardens

Ryōgen-in (Daitoku-ji)(大徳寺龍源院)

Ryōgen-in is one of Daitoku-ji’s twenty-two sub-temples. It is a rather small temple, but has several superlatives to offer:

→ One of its gardens (Tōkekiko) is Japan’s smallest garden (supposedly).

→ Another of its gardens (Ryūgin-tei) is Daitoku-ji’s oldest garden (maybe).

→ Its meditation hall is Japan’s oldest Hōjō – competing for this title with Ryogin-an of Tofuku-ji.

→ Japan’s oldest gun is on display inside the temple buildings.

The temple was found in 1502 as Daitoku-ji’s sub-temples by the priest Tokei. It belongs to the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism.

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

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
350 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 4:20pm

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
075-491-7635
Gardens

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
Gardens

Kōrin-in (Daitoku-ji)(興臨院)

Kōrin-in is a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji. It was founded in 1520 as a family temple for the Hatekeyama family. The temple building (Hōjō, 方丈, abbot’s quarter) built in the Shoin architectural style of the Muromachi period. Apart for the Zen garden, the temple is famous for its tea room Kankyo-tei.

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

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
600 Yen
(Discount-ticket in combination with Ōbai-in is available.)

Address
EN: 〒603-8231, Kyoto-Shi, Kita-Ku, Murasakino, 80 Daitoku-ji-Chō
JP: 〒603-8231, 京都市 北区 紫野 大徳寺町80

Opening hours
Open only in autumn, between 10:00 am – 5:00pm

Website with opening time frames
https://kyotoshunju.com/temple/daitokuji-kohrinin/
Gardens

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.

Contents:
  • 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:

Directions

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).

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

Tel
075-771-5725

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

Admission
500 Yen
Gardens

Daisen-in (Daitoku-ji)(大徳寺、大仙院)

Do you want to experience Zen Buddhist philosophy first hand and meet a zen priest that makes you laugh? Do you want to find out where key persons of the Japanese history have lived and worked? Daitoku-ji and its sub-temple Daisen-in are the places to go. Here, the influential tea master Sen no Rikyu underwent strict Zen training in his early years and, as an accomplished tea master, held tea ceremonies for the Shogun under the roof of Daisen-in.

The Daitoku-ji is a temple complex with numerous sub-temples in the northern part of Kyoto. It is one of the main temples of the Rinzai school. In the height of the 16th century it became one of Kyoto’s most important temples.

The subtemple Daisen-in is one of the five most important Zen temples in Kyoto. It has five small extraordinary well maintained gardens. The gardens are all connected and tell the metaphorical story of journey through life according to Buddhism. Within the grounds of the Daitoku-ji, the Daisen-in has a position of particularly high rank. It is one of the few examples of Zen temples from the Muromachi period that still have their original form. The temple was founded in 1509 and by Kogaku Soko and was built between 1509 and 1513. Legend has it, that Soami, the great landscape designer, zen monk, and ink painter, has built the garden with his own hands. With this eBook you can discover the hidden meanings of stone arrangements, gravel patterns and the use and position of particular plants.

Contents
  • Introduction
  • Historical Background – The Muromachi period
  • History of the temple and the Garden
  • Daitoku-ji – Buildings and Highlights
  • Daisen-in – The gardens and their meaning
  • Questions for Hayano-San
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Eating and Drinking
  • How to get there
9 pages
20 illustrations
3.1 MB

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:


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
075-491-0019

Opening hours
9am-4.30pm

Gardens

Tōji-in  (等持院)

Tōji-in is another garden attributed to garden designer and Zen priest Musō Soseki. The first Shogun of the Muromachi period, Ashikaga Takauji, built this temple and had Musō Soseki design it. This rather small and secret temple is the family temple of the Ashikaga clan and all of the Ashikaga shoguns are buried here. In the Reikō-den, 15 wooden statues of the Ashikaga shogun and one statue of the following shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu are lined up. Their faces, especially their eyes look incredibly realistic.

In the western garden, there is a pond, a strolling path around it, and a tea house on top of an artificial hill. Before the neighboring university was built, the northern mountains formed the backdrop of the garden. The eastern part of the garden has a lot of trees and winding ways around the pond, so that the visitor loses orientation before the path leads him back to the main buildings.

This garden is one of the calmest, less frequented gardens in Kyoto and perfect for a break. There is also green tea being served on the veranda with a great view on the garden.

  •  Click to view details
eBook Coming…

Directions

How to get there
Take the bus number 205 from Kyoto station towards Kujoshako-mae. After 19 stops and 37 minutes, get off at the Kinugasako-mae (衣笠校前) bus stop. Then walk 900 meter in towards the west to get to Tōji-in.

Opening times
9am-5pm

Admission
500 Yen 

Address
北区等持院北町63
Kyoto-fu, Kita-ku, Tōji-in, Kitamachi 63