Kōmyō-in (Tōfuku-ji)(光明院)

Kōmyō-in is one of Tofuku-ji temples sub-temples. It was founded in 1391 (Muromachi period) by Kinzan Myosho. In 1939, Shigemori Mirei laid out the dry landscape garden in front of the main building.

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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
7am – sunset

November: 300 yen
Rest of the year: donation

JP: 京都市東山区本町15丁目809
EN: 15 Chome-809 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0981

Kennin-ji (建仁寺)

Kennin-ji was built in 1202 and is Kyoto’s eldest Zen temple. It belongs to Kyoto’s Five Great Zen Temples after the Mountain system (Gozan – 号山).

There are two zen gardens: The Chou-on-tei,“The garden of the sound of the tide”, which has a San-zon-seki, a Buddhist triad stone arrangement and a Zenzen-seki for Sitting in Zazen meditation. The other garden is called “Circle-Triangle-Square” garden. The idea behind the“circle, triangle, square”is that all things in this universe can be represented by these forms.

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How to get there
Take the Kyoto city bus 4 from Kyoto station to Shijo-Kawaramachi-cho (四条河原町), it should take around 15 minutes. From there, got east over the Gion bridge. On the other side of the river, turn right and walk until you get to the next bridge. There, turn left and follow the street for 200 meters until you get to the entrance of Kennin-ji.

Opening times
10am – 5pm (last entrance 30 minutes earlier)

Might be closed between December 28th and 31st

600 yen


This sculpture museum is situated in Yanaka, which is a district in Tokyo’s Taito ward. It is the former home and studio of the Japanese sculptor Asakura Fumio (1883 – 1964). The house, studio, and garden have been designed by the artist himself, and it took 7 years to complete the construction works (1935).

  • Introduction
  • Asakura Fumio
  • The Five Constants
  • The Garden
  • Anika’s impressions
  • Around the Asakura-chōso-kan

10 pages full of information about the gardens of Asakura-chōso-kan
2 illustrations of the courtyard garden
12 pictures of the gardens

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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How to get there
The museum is a 5-minute walk away from Nippori station on the Yamanote line.

Opening times
9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (last entry 4:00 p.m.)
Closed from Dec. 29 – Jan. 1
Also Mondays and Thursdays.
If there is a holiday on one of these days, the mueseum will be open and then close the following day.

Admission fee
500 Yen

Taito-ku, Yanaka 7-18-10

Picture taking not allowed

Aoi-den and Kasui-en(葵殿 佳水園)

Both gardens are now on the ground of the Westin Hotel Kyoto. Visitors can enter before sunset for free. “Aoiden” was built by the garden master Ogawa Jihei (7th generation). It is a stroll garden that utilizes land features and enables the water from the Biwako River to drop into a waterfall basin 15 meters below. “Kasuien” was built by his eldest son Hakuyo.

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How to get there
Take Kyoto city bus number 5 from Kyoto station towards Yagura-soshajo-mae (岩倉操車場前). After 11 stops and around 30 minutes, get off at Jingu-dori (神宮道). After getting off the bus, walk 5 minutes in direction of traffic.

Kyoto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Keage, Sanjo

Zuihō-in (Daitoku-ji)(瑞峯院)

Zuihō-in is an extraordinary temple in Kyoto: It was founded by daimyo Otomo, who was one of the early Christians in Japan. He founded the temple as his family temple; he and his wife are buried here as well. Garden designer Shigemori Mirei, who created the gardens in 1961, included a Garden of the Cross and even a statue of the Virgin Mary in reference to the founder.

The temple itself was built in 1546, after the Onin war (1467-77), so many of its building have never burnt and are still in their original shape.

The main garden to the south of the Hōjō is called Dokuza-tei (独坐庭 ). The Chinese characters mean Alone-Sitting-Garden and refer to an Island of the Taoist mythology. From the famous Horai-Zan, the Mountain of the Blessed, a long and thin peninsula protrudes into the rough sea. Even further away is a single island, sitting alone in the rough waters of the wide sea. If you look at the garden, it is actually really easy to see the Horai-zan in the right-hand corner, the peninsula in front of it and the rough sea.

Contents of the eBook
  • Introduction
  • Daitoku-ji
  • History of Zuihō-in
  •  -Shigemori Mirei-
  • Buildings
      -Teahouse Yokei-an
      -Teahouse Anshō-ken
      -Teahouse Heisei-tai-an
  • Gardens
      -Entry Garden
      -Tea gardens
  • Anika’s Impressions
  • Recommendations around Zuihō-in
  • Access & General Information
  • Related eBooks

12 pages full of information about the temple
21 pictures of the gardens

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Watch the Zuiho-in video here.


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.

400 Yen

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


Opening hours
9am – 5pm

Tōfuku-ji - Garden of the Hōjō(東福寺)

Tōfuku-ji is one of the Five Great Zen temples in the Kyoto Mountain system. It is a temple complex in southern Kyoto with 24 sub-temples.

Its garden were redesigned by the scholar Mirei Shigemori in the 1930s. He had studied the traditional Japanese gardens for decades before starting to design gardens himself. He built his designs on the old garden design principles, and connected them to the contemporary Japanese design of that time. The result are impressive gardens like the four gardens of Tōfuku-ji that surround the hōjō, the former head priest’s quarters.

Another remarkable feature of this tempe is the big mountain gate (山門 – San-mon) to the south of the garden. It is the oldest San-mon in Japan. The temple was built in 1236 (Kamakura period), and the founding priest is Enni Ben’en, a Japanese priest that went to China to study Zen buddhism. He is also believed to have imported the Udon wheat noodles, until today one of the most popular dishes in Japan.

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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 the temple.

– 500 Yen (Hojo and gardens)
– 600 Yen (Tsutenkyo Bridge and Kaisando Hall), 1000 Yen during Autumn season
– 1000 Yen Combi ticket garden and bridge (not during autumn season)

Opening Times
April – October: 9am – 4pm
November – first Sunday in December: 8:30am – 4pm
first Monday in December – to March: 9am – 3:30pm

EN: 15-778 Honmachi Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
JP: 〒605-0981 京都府京都市東山区本町15丁目778

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.

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eBook coming…    


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.

Address JP:
〒605-0981 京都府京都市東山区本町15丁目812
Address EN: Kyoto-fu Kyoto-shi, Higashiyama-ku, Honcho 15-812

Special admission times apply. Admission included in general admission for the Hojo garden.

Opening hours
10:00am to 4:30pm

Hakone Moss Garden - Museum of Art(箱根美術館)

The moss garden of the Hakone Museum is a small mysterious landscape. Under 200 maple trees, small stone paths are winding through fields of moss. The climate of the Hakone mountains is perfect for the moss. During the rain season between June and July, the moss gets plenty of water to thrive, and the dappled shade of the momiji (紅葉, Japanese for maple tree) makes sure it gets enough light to be a bright green, but does not get burned by the strong Japanese summer sun. There are over 130 varieties of moss in the garden.

There is also a small Chinese bamboo garden and a Japanese landscape garden. You can have tea in the tea house Shinwatei (真和亭).

The museum was established in 1952 by Okada Mokichi(岡田茂吉, 1882-1955), a collector of Asian art. There is earthenware pottery from the Jomon period (13.000BC to 300BC) until the Edo period (1603-1868) on display.

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How to get there
A fast and uncomplicated way to get to the Hakone area is to take the Odakyu Bus from Shinjuku station in Tokyo. It leaves every 30 minutes and it takes around 2 hours under good traffic conditions. Get off at Togendai and get on the Hakone Ropeway, go to the last stop, Sounzan and change to the cute red Hakone Tozan Cable car. You can choose to either get off at Koenkami station and walk three minutes or go to Gora Station and walk uphill for ten minutes.

Another nice option is to take the Odakyu Railway ‘Romance Car’ from Shinjuku station to Hakone-Yumoto station. It takes about 90 minutes and costs 2020 Yen. From Hakone-Yumoto, you can get on the Hakone Tozan cable car and to Gora station and walk from there.

900 Yen

Opening hours
April-November: 9:30am to 4:30pm
December-March: 9:30am to 4:00pm

The garden is closed on every Thursday (except for November), and between December 25th and 31st and January 4th and 7th.

EN: 1300 Gora, Hakone-machi Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa 〒250-0408
JP: 〒250-0408 神奈川県足柄下郡箱根町強羅1300


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.

  • 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

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Watch the Adachi Museum of Art video here.


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.

2.300 Yen


Ryugon is one of the most famous guesthouses in Japan.

It opened its doors as a guesthouse in 1969 after the construction began in 1964.

Utsugi Toshio, the founder of this traditional ryokan, saw a lot of houses in his hometown replaced by modern buildings when he returned from a longer stay out of town. After several unsuccessful attempts to convince the villagers to preserve the traditional buildings, he started to collect houses to combine them into a beautiful Japanese guesthouse.

In 2019 this hoary guesthouse in Niigata was temporarily closed and completely renovated to reopen in a new and beautiful look in the summer of the same year.

Although ryugon is now a luxury hotel, it still has the old charm. The best architects and interior designers have thought of how to transport the message of the Snow Country through material and shapes and the result is gorgeous.


History of the guesthouse
  -The Gate Nagaya Mon
  -Kura Zashiki
  -Shin Zashiki
  -Onma Zashiki

  -Yucho no Ma
  -Keisetsu no Ma and Koshoin no Ma
  -Mushin no Ma
  -Entsu no Ma

  -Main Garden
  -The Courtyard Garden
  -The Front Garden
  -The Mountain-Stream Garden
  -The Tortoise Waterfall Garden

The Onsen Baths
  -Yawaragi no Yu
  -Madoka no Yu

From 龍言 to ryugon
Snow protection methods
Around ryugon
Access & General Information

15 pages
31 pictures & illustrations
15 MB

eBook will be delivered as pdf.

Ryugon Video

Watch the Ryugon video here.

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How to get there
Take the Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo for one and a half hour and get off at Echigoyuzawa station.
If you booked a stay at the Ryokan, a shuttle service will wait for you in front of the station.
If you prefer to go by yourself by train, take the JR Joetsu Line until Muikamachi and walk for 20min into South-eastern direction or take a taxi (6min).

A stay at the Ryokan costs from $180 upwards.

〒949-6611 新潟県南魚沼市坂戸1-6
1-6 Sakado, Minami-Uonuma, Niigata 949-6611
Tel.: 025-772-3470