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

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

Adachi Museum of Art  (足立美術館)

Adachi Zenko, a textile wholesaler from Shimane prefecture, opened the museum with its gardens in 1980. At this time he was already 71 years old. Adachi Zenko loved Japanese paintings and gardens since his youth. At the time he could afford it, he started to collect wonderful works of Japanese painters. When he decided to open a museum, it was an easy decision where: back in his hometown to show respect and gratitude.

There are several gardens around the museum. The main garden is the Dry Landscape Garden, but we can also find the Moss Garden, the Tea Garden, the Pond Garden, which is the oldest garden on the grounds, and the White Gravel and Pine garden, a tribute to works of Yokoyama Taikan.

The eBook about this garden was published with the support of the Adachi Museum of Art.

Content:
  • Introduction
  • Adachi Zenko
  • The six gardens of the Museum
  •   – The Reception Garden
  •   – The Moss Garden
  •   – The Tea Garden
  •   – The Dry Landscape Garden
  •   – The Pond Garden
  •   – The White Gravel and Pine Garden
  • Exhibitions in the main building and annex
  • Cafes and Restaurants
  • The gardener’s work – Anika’s Impressions
  • Opening hours and access
  • Around the Adachi Museum of Art


14 pages full of information about the Adachi Museum of Art
28 pictures of the gardens

PDF 13MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:
Watch the Adachi Museum of Art video here.

Directions

Address
EN: 320 Furukawa-cho, Yasugi, Shimane, 692-0064, JAPAN
JP: 〒692‐0064 島根県安来市古川町320

How to get there
The museum lies in a rural part of Japan in the Shimane prefecture.
From JR Okayama Station or Yonago or Izumo Airport take a JR train to Yasugi Station.
There is a free Shuttle Bus leaving every 20 min for the Adachi Museum of Art.

Opening times
April – September: 9:00 – 17:30
October – March: 9:00 – 17:00
Annex will close every other month for two days to change the exhibits.

Admission
2.300 Yen

Nanzen-ji  (南禅寺)

Nanzen-ji is the name of a temple and the surrounding temple complex at the foot of Kyoto’s eastern mountains (Higashi-yama). It was built in the Heian period (794-1185) on the grounds of Tennō Kameyama’s detached palace. The emperor was in favor of Zen Buddhism and supported the relatively new religion, introducing it to the aristocratic circles. It is the head temple of the Nanzen-ji branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism.

Of special importance is the dry landscape garden (kare-sansui) in front of the Hōjō, the head priest’s quarters. The fusuma-e, the paintings on wooden sliding doors, are also impressive. They have been painted by painters of the famous Kanō school.

  •  Click to view details
eBook Coming…

Directions

The most beautiful way to get to Nanzen-ji is to walk the picturesque Philosopher’s path, which connects Nanzen-ji and Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion.

As for the subway, Keage Station on the Tozai line is a short 7-10 minute walk away. If you prefer to go by bus, take bus number 5 and get off at Nanzenji-Eikando-michi.

How to get there
Take city bus number 5 and get off the bus at the Nanzen-ji bus stop. Walk about 10 minutes in eastern direction.

Address
Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-city
京都市左京区南禅寺福地町

Telephone
075-771-0365

Opening hours
December-February: 8:40am – 4:30pm
March-November: 8:40am – 5pm

The temple is closed from December 28th to 31st.

Admission
500 Yen

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.

  •  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 – 4:30pm

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

Ryōgin-an (Tōfuku-ji)  (龍吟庵)

The Ryōgin-an is famous for its three gardens designed by the modern Japanese garden designer Shigemori Mirei in 1964. In contrast to the gardens, the temple and its buildings are really old. At first, it was the residence of the 3rd head priest of Tōfuku-ji, who also founded the famous temple complex Nanzen-ji. After his death in 1291, his quarters were converted into a temple in the late 14th century.

  •  Click to view details
eBook Coming…

Directions

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 Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)  (金閣寺 鹿苑寺)

Kinkaku-ji (the more popular name for its actual name Rokuon-ji – 鹿苑寺) is one of the most famous temples in Japan and a definite must-see on you Kyoto bucket list. The awe-inspiring sight of the richly decorated golden temple that seems to float over the mirror pond is worth a visit to Kyōto alone. In combination with the numerous islands and pine trees, it looks almost surreal.

The estate was originally constructed as a retirement pavilion by the shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397, it was turned into a Zen temple after Yoshimitsus death in 1408. During the Onin war (1467-77) the buildings and garden of Rokuon-ji faced the same fate as many other temples in Kyōto – they were completely destroyed by fire. Fortunately the pavilion survived the fire and the rest of the garden was restored. In 1950 the pavilion was burnt down by a young novice monk and needed to be rebuild in 1955. It was rebuilt very close to the original, although more parts of the pavilion received a leaf gold coating on the inside and outside.

The garden is an extraordinary example of a Japanese strolling garden of the Muromachi period. A path leads around the pond, offering great viewing axes and photo spots to take beautiful pictures of the temple.

If you come early, you can avoid the crowds, but have to share the garden with school children of all ages from all over Japan. A visit usually takes between 30 and 50 minutes. You can also have a cup of Matcha tea and traditional Japanese sweet (Wagashi 和菓子) in the garden.

Contents
Introduction
Historical Background
History of the Temple and the Garden
Buildings and Garden
Jenny’s impressions
Questions for Hayano-San
Eating and Drinking
Directions

11 pages
19 illustrations
17 MB
2012

Kinkaku-ji Video
Watch the Kinkaku-ji video here.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

  •  Click to view details

Directions

EN: 〒603-8231, Kyoto-Shi, Kita-Ku, Kinkaku-ji-Chō 1
JP: 〒603-8361, 京都府京都市 北区 金閣寺町1
Tel: 075-461-0013

How to get there
Bus: Take the bus 101 or 205 and get off at the stop ’Kinkaku-ji’. From Tokyo Station it takes around 40 minutes and costs 220 yen.
Subway: Take the Karasuma line to Kitaō-ji station. From there you can take a taxi (10min and 900 yen) or the bus 101, 102, 204 or 205 (10 min, 220 yen).

Admission
400 yen

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 probable 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:
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 / 26MB
2015

eBook will be delivered as pdf and mobi

  •  Click to view details

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: 8am to 5pm
December – February: 8:30am to 4:30pm

Admission
500 yen

Meigetsu-in  (明月院)

Every year in June, after the rain season has begun, and the air gets hot and damp, thousands of visitors from Tokyo and Kamakura surge to the Meigetsu-in temple in Kita-Kamakura. This is the time, when the temple’s ajisai (紫陽花), the hydrangeas, are in full bloom and look their best.

Meigetsu-in is now a temple of the Rinzai Zen school of Buddhism. It was founded in 1383 (Muromachi period) by Uesugi Norikata, a powerful statesman of the Uesugi clan.

Apart from the hydrangea, which gave the temple its nickname Ajisai-dera (紫陽花寺), it is famous for an excellent dry landscape garden and the round windows of the main temple buildings. Like all Kamakura gardens, it is also beautiful in autumn when the leaves change color.

  •  Click to view details
eBook Coming Soon…

Directions

How to get there:

Meigetsu-in is a 10 minute walk from Kita-Kamakura station on the JR Yokosuka Line, one station before Kamakura station when coming from Tokyo.

Admission
300 Yen, in June 500 Yen

Opening hours
9am-4pm, in June 8:30am to 5pm