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.

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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

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

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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
075-491-0019

Opening hours
9am-4.30pm

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.

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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

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.

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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.
Next opening: Oct 5 – Nov 8 2019.

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

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.

14 pages with
44 pictures of one of Kyoto’s most beautiful secret gardens

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)

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Directions

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

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
9am-5pm

Admission
300 yen

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

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.

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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
350 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 4:30pm

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

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

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.

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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
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 late November/ early December, between 9am-4.30pm