Photogenic Spots in Kyoto

May 17, 2019

By Hanami Yanagi, Saya Ishida, Tomoka Yamazaki

Recently in Japan, photogenic spots are getting a great deal of attention. Such spots are increasing dramatically. There are many attractive places in Kyoto. Therefore, we would like to introduce a few specially selected locations in Kyoto that are very good for taking photographs. Not only Japanese, but foreign tourists can come to these spots. Tourists enjoy visiting these locations, taking lots of photographs and then upload their favorite images to SNS. We chose three spots to recommend and introduce them here.

Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine

Access: 7 minutes’ walk to the east of the Inari Taisha-mae bus stop on the Minami 5 line

Right next to Inari Station on the JR Nara Line (2 stations/5 minutes from Kyoto Station) 5 minutes’ walk to the east of Fushimi-Inari Station on the Keihan Main Line

Business hours: Always open

Closed: No closing days

Admission fee: Free

Also known as “O-inari-san”, the Fushimi-inari-Taisha Shrine is very famous in Kyoto. In the 1300 years since its establishment, people have gathered here to pray for good harvests, ecomnomic prosperity, the safety of their home and the health of their family. They may pray for many other things as well, such as finding a good partner, safe travels and good scores on examinations. And Fushimi-inari-Taisha Shrine has recently become famous as a photogenic spot.  There is “Senbon-Torii” in the shrine, or a thousand toriii gates, They are painted bright vermilion.

Senbon-Torii

They are placed next to each other and so form tunnels up the mountain. In the winter, snow accumulate on them, and you can take beautiful pictures that are different from the usual.  Many people enjoy taking pictures there every day, but if you want to take especially good pictures there, we recommend you to go to the shrine in the early morning.

Senbon-Torii in winter

Nanzen-ji

Access: Near to the Kyoto City 5 Bus Stop ‘Nanzenji-Eikando-michi Station’ stop.

Near to Keage Station on the Tozai Subway Line. Continue on foot about 10 minutes to reach Nanzen-ji.

Business hours: 8:40~17:00 (until 16:30 from December to February)

Closed: December 28 to 31

Admission fee: Sanmon Gate and Hojo is 500 yen, Nanzenin is 300 yen, Tenju-an and Konchi-in are 400 yen each.

Nanzen-ji is one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan. Emperor Kameyama loved this beautiful place so much that in 1264 he built his detached palace here. The temple is especially beautiful in the autumn because of the many yellow and red maples trees on its grounds.

Nanzenji

We especially recommend “suirokaku”. Suirokaku is near Nanzen-ji. It is an aqueduct that was used to carry water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto in the Meiji-era. During this age Japan was rapidly modernizing and taking in a lot of Western culture. It is said that its design is based on the ancient aqueducts of the Roman age. It is very wonderful scenery and a photogenic spot. Therefore, there are always many people there taking photos, especially in recent years.

Suirokaku

Shouju-in Temple

Access: Near to the ‘Okuyamada station’ stop

Business hours: 9:00~16:00(November 16 to March)8:00~17:00(April to November 15)

Closed: December 26 to January 4

Admission fee:400 yen

The Shoujuin temple was founded in 1291, about 800 years ago. It is surrounded by beautiful nature and fresh green. This temple treats visitor very kindly. Therefore, you can make special memories here.  The most recommend spot within the Shouju-in temple grounds is the window called ‘Inome-mado’.

Inome-mado

It is a heart-shaped window because it is based on the shape of a boar’s eye. Boar is an animal regarded for its ability to expel evil and avert fire hazards. Moreover, it brings happiness. Of course, you can enjoy seeing it. However, we want you to see the heart-shaped pool of light. You can see it between 3:00 to 4:00 pm. You must take a picture it. There are many more beautiful things here. For example, the roof has a beautiful picture. You can feel the artistry of Japan traditions at this temple.

“Photogenic” is buzzword and popular all over the world nowadays.  Kyoto is famous area for photogenic spots.  In fact, there are a lot of spots in Kyoto that we haven’t introduced here.  We want you to go photogenic spots in Kyoto and take good pictures!

Otagi Nenbutsu-ji

by Ema Maeda, David Grogan & Tsukasa Ishibashi

About 1250 years ago, Emperor Shotoku built Otagi temple. However, at the beginning of the Heian Period, the temple washed away when the Kamo River flooded. The temple was reestablished by Senkan Naigu, who was a priest of the Tendai sect. At that time, the temple was named Otagi Nenbutsu-ji. At the beginning of 1922, during the Taisho Period, the temple was transferred to its present location in the Saga District from the south of Kenji temple in order to preserve it. The temple is a very old one, and has seen many changes over the centuries.

Otagi Temple has many features, including the gate, guarded by two statues, a main hall, and other buildings. Otagi Temple is a Buddhist structure, and has some features that are typical of that religion.

GATE

Nio-mon is an Edo Period style gate. At this gate, there are Nio guardians that were made in the Kamakura Period.

                         
What are the Nio guardians?
Generally, Nio guardians are perfect with 2 statues. The right one is an Agyo statue, and the left one is an Ungyo statue. “A” means start, and “Un” means the end of something. Nio guardians usually stand at the gate of a temple in the role of gatekeepers.
                          

MAIN HALL

The main hall of this temple is registered as an important cultural property for Japanese style buildings in middle Kamakura period. “Sente kannon” is famous as a talisman which is this temple’s principal image. Kannon is the goddess of Mercy.

FUREAI KANNON HALL

The Bodhisattva of love and mercy, this Kannon is pleased by being touched by people’s hands. Statues of Buddha have been made by people for more than 2000 years, and they have been made by people who are not blind and have been prayed to by people who are also are not blind. This statue is the first one that was made especially for blind people in the world. Therefore, people can touch this with their hands.
 

JIZO HALL

Jizo is a popular deity in the folk belief of the Japanese. He is the patron saint of travelers, children, pregnant women. In this Jizo Hall, there is Hiyoke Jizo which protects Kyoto from fire. Also this is called “Enmei Jizo,” it means prolong the life. People visit this temple for pray their long life.

SANBO-NO-KANE

Originally, the role of ringing the bells in temples was to convey instructions to the monks. An important feature in this temple is that there are 3 bells, and each bell has a mark, one for “Buddha”, another for “Dharma”, and one for “Priest.” These three characters express the important treasures for monks. These bells are smaller than others and the tone is very high and clear.
   
What is Rakan?
Rakans, also called Syakatanzyoubutsu or Arakan, were pupils of Syaka and they spread the teachings of Buddha. Five hundred Rakans got together when Syaka passed away, and there are many temples that have 500 Rakans in Japan, but Otagi Nenbutsu-ji has 1200 Rakans because 100 years after Syaka passed away, an additional 700 Rakans came to this temple and to learn about Buddha. Therefore, there are 1200 Rakans in this temple. The worshippers started to make and dedicate Rakan statues from 1980. Because all of those were made by hand by worshippers, each Rakan has a different face.

Nishimura Koutyou

In 1952, Mr. Nishimura became monk when he was 37 years old and was appointed the chief priest when he was 40 years old. He was graduated from Tokyo Art University and he had a very high level skill as a sculptor. First, he restructured the Buddha in Japan, but after he became the chief priest in Otagin Nenbutsu-ji, he focused on the Buddha in Kyoto. Then he asked for prayers that make “Rakan” and dedicate it. Nowadays the number of Rakan is 1200. Mr. Nishimura made and reconstructed more than 1300 statues of Buddha. The reason why he reconstructed so many Buddhas is that he saw many broken Buddhas in China because of wars. He wanted to do something for Buddha.

Which season is the best?
And what can we see in each season?
Otagi Nenbutsu-ji is next to the mountains, therefore this temple shows different faces in each season.

 Spring
→cherry blossoms, maple trees, butterburs, and azaleas
“Rakan Spring Festivval” on the first Sunday in April, from 13:00-15:00.

 Summer
→hydrangea, gardenia and fresh green leaves

 Autumn
→yellow leaves and little cuckoos
“Autumn Festival” on the second Sunday in November, from 13:00-15:00.

 Winter
→snow on the Rakans and camellias
The most recommended season is winter for the tasteful Rakans with snow.

On the 24th of each month, there is a “Buddhist service.”
“Hoyou” people pray that a deceased’s soul may rest in peace. Also the monk gives a sermon.

EVENTS

1. “Saijo Syouhuku Kigan”
This is one of the prayers that people do in their unlucky year. Usually, it is important to be purified at 33 years old for women and 42 years old for men.
2. “Ohatu Senkan”
This event is a newborn baby’s first visit to a shrine. People pray for the baby’s happiness.
3. “Mitsuinana Mairi”
This is a child’s visit to a shrine to celebrate its third/fifth/seventh year. The origin of this event is from the Heian period. In the Heian period, children’s death rate was very high, therefore this event was started in hope for children’s good health and happiness. The reason why it is 3, 5, 7 is people think the odd numbers are auspicious.
4. “Kariteibosatsu”
This is prayer for easy delivery and happy family.
5. Wedding
A couple can hold a wedding ceremony in front of Buddha.

SAGANO MEGURI

If you want to walk around traditional Kyoto, we recommend that starting from Otagi Nenbutsu-ji to Arashiyama.

BASIC INFORMATION

Access: About 5 minutes’ walk from JR Saga Arashiyama Station
Address: 2-5 Fukatani-cho, Sagatoriimoto, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8439 Japan
Telephone: 075-865-1231
E-mail: 1200rakan@otagiji.com
Open: 8:00 to 17:00 (Last entrance is 15 minutes before 17:00)
Admission fee: 300 yen (elementary & junior high school students are free of charge)
Denomination: Tendai
Official website: http://otagiji.com/

New Tourist Spot: Shouju-in

by Natsumi Endo and Momoyo Matsuoka

Shouju-in is a temple that is located in Uji-tawara, which is famous for green tea in Kyoto. The place is cooler than Kyoto city because it is at a higher altitude.

Shouju-in’s origin is not clear. Shouju-in was built in Kamakura era (1185-1113). In addition, the principal image in the temple is the Eleven-Headed Kannon. This is a secret statue, so we can see it only once every 50 years. The Eleven-Headed Kannon was made in Muromatchi era (1336-1573), and it escaped burning down from two times of fire in SenGoku era (1476-1603) and Edo era (1603-1867).

Shouju-in has become a famous photo spot among young tourists, because there are many places to take beautiful photos to post on Instagram. One of them is the “Inome-Window” and it is probably the most popular photo spot within the temple. “Inome” is one of the old traditional designs in Japan. “Inome” means heart-shaped in English, and the kanji, or Chinese character, for it is 「猪目」(eyes of a wild boar). Old Japanese thought this heart shape looked like the eyes of a wild boar, so it was named like that. The shape is said to prevent trouble and bring good luck. Through this of heart-shaped window, we can see seasonal views of cherry blossoms in spring, rich green trees in summer, autumn leaves in fall, and a snow scene in winter. You can take nice photos whenever you visit there. In the same room as the Inome-window, 160 paintings of flower and scenes of Japan are painted on the ceiling. The picture designs are of Japanese traditional flowers, Japanese traditional patterns, and maiko. They are really colorful and will make you warm inside.

Not only that, there are some events. While viewing nature, you can experience yoga, sutra copying, and making a Buddhist rosary. If you are interesting in it, I recommend you to make reservation with them at first. You can forget daily life while feeling rich nature.

One of the seasonal events is the display of some 2,000 wind chimes that give a warm welcome to people who visit Shouju-in from July to September. There are various types, colors, and tones of wind-chimes. In back of the wind-chimes is bamboo, so you can enjoy a mixture tones of bamboo and wind-chimes. In this season, you can design your own wind-chime.

In Shoujuin, you can experience not only rich nature but also Japanese culture. In addition, you can enjoy Japanese seasonal things there. Shoujuin is the place you can relax anytime you visit.

Information

Open hour: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Admission fee: 400 yen (including tea fee)
Address: 149, Kawakami, Okuyamada, Ujitawarachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto
TEL: 077-488-3601

Also, there are a lot of fascinating things: history of green tea, shrine, nature and important cultural property.

Nagatanisouenseika (Uji-tawara Green Tea)

Uji-tawara town is famous for green tea because the birthplace of the green tea is in Uji-tawara town. In 1738, a man who was called Nagatani Soen found out how to make beautiful green tea. Until he discovered it, Japanese drank tea that looked black, not green. It means he led a big change in tea industry in Japan.

If people go to his house: Nagatanisouenseika, they can know more deeply about green tea history.

Information

Period: fixed days off (people can enter the house only weekend and holiday)
Open hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission fee: 100 yen
Address: Yuyadani, Ujitawatachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto
TEL: 077-488-6638

How to get: From Kyoto station, get on JR Nara Line; for Nara, to Uji station. After that, get on Keihan bus; for Kougyodanchi, to Kougyodanchi. From the bus stop, it takes about 30 minutes on foot.

Sarumaru shrine

Enshrined deity of Sarumaru shrine is Sarumaru Daifu. He was a famous tanka poet in the Heian era (794-1185). There are cute ema, a votive tablet used as an offering at a shrine. If people pay 500 yen for ema, they can draw a monkey’s face freely.

Information

Open hours: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission fee: free.
Address: 44, Makitani, Zenjyoji, Ujitawarachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto
TEL: 077-488-3782

Zenjo-ji Temple

Zenjo-ji Temple was built by Shonin Heiso in 991. People can be relaxed when viewing a Japanese garden.

When people enter the Zenjo-ji, beautiful Japanese garden and the main building of a temple with a thatched roof that jump into their eyes. Then, people can see dots on the thatched roof. The dots are shell of abalone for driving off bad luck and repelling bard. Also, there is disaster prevention wall at back of main building. There is big wall painting: “Great Nirvana” printed on the wall. Great Nirvana was painted in memory of the Zenjo-ji in commemoration of its 1,000th anniversary. In addition, in this temple’s storehouse, there are the Buddha which was made in Heian (794-1185). These Buddha are important cultural properties.

Information

Open hour: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission fee: 500 yen

Address: 100, Zenjyoji, Ujitawarachou, Tsuzukigun, Kyoto

TEL: 077-488-4450

Ruriko-in

Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto are famous sightseeing spots for foreign tourists. Especially, Kyoto is known as a historical prefecture. There is a lot of historical buildings, for example, Kiyomizu-temple, Kinkakuzi-temple, and Ginkakuzi-temple. These days, Ruriko-in is becoming famous for not only foreign tourists but also Japanese people. It wasn’t that long ago that Ruriko-in was virtually unknown. However, some beautiful pictures taken there made it famous.

About Ruriko-in

Ruriko-in is located in Kyoto, at the base of Mt.Hiei, and along the Takano River  of Yase. Yase is located at the upper stream of Mt.Koyasan, This place has been loved by the aristocracy since the Heian Era (794-1192). In the garden, there are some varieties of moss growing. One of them was shining in lazuline; blue color, by the light beam, the temple named “Ruriko-in”. (Ruri means lazuline, ko means light beam, and in means temple.) In addition, Ruri means the Pure Land in Buddhist teaching.

The official name of the building is “Muryo Jusan Komyo-ji”, and it is for the True Pure Land Buddhism. There is a statue of Buddha Amida who gave his left leg to rescue people’s from their actions laid to rest here.

History of Ruriko-in

In the late Edo Era (1780-1867), Gentaro-Tanaka, who was a business person of Kyoto, built his leisure home around there. It is the origin of Ruriko-in. And from Taisho Era (1912-1926) to Showa Era (1926-1989), a big renovation of a tea-ceremony house in the leisure home which size was 792㎡was conducted in 396,000㎡ ground.

Around 1965-1985, a very luxurious  hotel, “KIKAKUTEI” was opening business in that area. It was known as a hidden village, and it was famous for attracting rich people. After that, that area was owned by Keihuku-electric railroad company, and became unoccupied for a while.

In 2005, the empty house was altered into a temple, and became a branch temple of a temple in Gifu-prefecture. Still, the renovation of the building and garden has continued since then. Currently, the grounds are only open in the spring and autumn. Actually, in past days, it was prohibited to enter Ruriko-in in order to preserve the property, but many people want to see there, so the temple permitted visitors in only two seasons.

Ruriko-in’s Highlights

Ruriko-in became well known as a place to see not only beautiful autumn leaves but also maple trees. The most popular place is Shoin, a large pavilion with open sides that overlook the beautiful grounds of this temple. When people get in Shoin, they can see beautiful maple trees which are called Ruri no Niwa: a garden full of trees. The garden is covered with moss. In addition, the floor of the shoin is painted with lacquer, which reflects outside views, so people can see lovely views more than ever. And also, people can drink Green Tea for 800 yen with seeing Ruri no Niwa. On the first floor of the shoin, there is a steam bath: called Yase no Kama-buro, by the way.

Yase no Kama-buro: Kama-buro is the prototype of the Japanese style steam bath. These days, there is a very little Kama-buro in Japan. Tourists can go inside, and they can take a view.

After Shoin, people are shown into Kikakutei: tea room. This tea room was named by Sanjo Sanetomi, who was an influential figure in Meiji Era (1868-1912). The garden in front of the tea room is a type of Chisen Teien : a kind of garden. This type of garden expresses nature: mountains, rivers and ponds. Thisen Teien in front of Kikakutei is called Garyou no Niwa: it express dragon to soar high up into the sky.

Lastly, people can stamp Goshuin on paper by themselves in Ruriko-in. Goshuin is a kind of stamp or mark, which is a proof for the connection with the temples or shrines. Receiving a Goshuin  is something to be grateful for because it is god’s alter ego, so only worshipers get it. If people want to get Ruriko-in’s Goshuin, they can imprint  the stamp and write the day of their visit on it by themselves. The meaning of Goshuin’s kanji is that Buddha always protects us.

Special admission

The period of special admission is March and September. Please check online for the exact dates.
Hours Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission fee: 2,000
No appointment is needed for a visit to Ruriko-in.

Ruriko-in does not offer any discount for purchasing of admission tickets. So, if people go as a group, they will still need to buy a ticket themselves. In addition, please refrain from visiting in large groups with a tour guide, as Ruriko-in has an agreement with neighboring residents about such large groups.

Autumn is the most popular season because of the beautiful autumn leaves. Therefore, many visitors come to Ruriko-in. In this case, there may be a wait of one or even two hours before you can enter the grounds of Ruriko-in.

How to get to Ruriko-in

Ruriko-in
Address: 55, Kamitakanohigashiyama, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
TEL: 81-75-781-4001

There is no parking, so it is recommended to use the public transportation.

From Kyoto Station, get on JR Nara Line; for Nara, to Tofukuji Station, and change the train to Keihan Line; for Demachi-yanagi, to Demachi-yanagi Station. After that, get on Eizan Electric Railway; for Yase-Hieizanguchi, to Yasa-Hieizanguchi Station. From the station, it takes about 5 minutes on foot.

From Kawaramachi Station, walk to Gionsijyo Station. It takes about 5 minutes on foot. And get on Keihan Line; for Demachi-yanagi, to Demachi-yanagi Station. Then, get on Eizan Electric Railway; for Yase-Hieizanguchi, to Yasa-Hieizanguchi Station. From the station, it takes about 5 minutes on foot.

If you go to Ruriko-in by private car, the Kyoto Demachi parking is the nearest parking.

And walk to Demachi-yanagi Station. It takes about 5 minutes on foot. From the station, the same way as above.

The temple people want to visit over and over again: Suzumushi-dera

by Natsumi Endo and Momoyo Matsuoka

Why it is called Suzumushi temple?

In this temple, people can listen to the sound of bell crickets, not only in autumn but also all the year round. So this temple is called Suzumushi-dera, but the original name is Myotokuzan Kegon-ji Temple.

Kegon-ji temple was opened by Houtanshonin to revive the Myotoku sect of Buddhism in the Edo era (1608-1868). At present, this temple belongs to the Rinzai sect.

There is Jizo Bosatsu in this temple, so lot of people come to this temple to pray for good luck, good match, success in school enrollment and so on. Jizo is one of the most popular Buddhist deities in Japan. It is said that Jizo heals people.

Suzumushi temple was built in a place that is surrounded by beautiful nature and this temple has the circuit style garden, so people can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the seasons. The garden has Japanese apricot trees and cherry blossoms in the spring, fresh green in the summer, colorful leaves in the autumn, and fantastic snow views in the winter. People can also enjoy a beautiful view of Kyoto city from this temple because it is built in beautiful nature of a mountain.

What are the charms of Suzumushi temple

When you arrive in front of the temple in the autumn season, you will see long stairs and a lot of beautiful red coral leaves. A lot of beautiful leaves on trees arch over the steps. At the top of the stairs, you pay 500 yen and you can enter. When you enter the room, you can hear the beautiful chirping of many bell crickets (in Japanese, suzumushi). It sounds like many suzumushi are saying “welcome” to you. In the autumn, there are about 3500 suzumushi in that temple. Sometimes they have more than 7000 crickets in other seasons. Inside the room, you can get blessed teachings from the chief priest. While listening to his teachings, you can relax and you will forget daily stress. He told us how to live in modern society, and about Jizo. You will see this famous jizo as soon as you go up 80 steps. In this temple, there is a Jizo which wears straw sandals at the top of stairs. The chief priest said that this Jizo can walk for each person and to grant their wish so that it wears the straw sandals. People make one wish and pray within themselves with a yellow lucky charm. The yellow charm is sold next to the main building of a temple. People can buy this for 300yen. The charm says “Kouhuku Omamori” (幸福御守) or “lucky charm.” When people pray, they place their hands together, then people have to be careful to show the kanji or Chinese characters 幸福, and they should not forget to say their address. After that, you keep the charm always with you. Moreover, if your wish will come true, you have to come this temple and tell the Jizo “thank you.” That is why this temple has a lot of repeat visitors.

From Kyoto station, you can easily get a number 28 bus bound for Arashiyama, and get off at Matsuo-taisha Shrine. Then you walk about 15 minutes to get to Suzumushi temple. A visit takes about one hour, but you can enjoy the streets of Kyoto. When you go there from Shijo-Karasuma, you can also get bus 73, which is bound for Suzumushi temple. If you have a car, you can park at parking lot with 500yen.

http://www.suzutera.or.jp/introduction/suzumusi.html

Tenryuji

by Haruko Ishii and Mai Kobayashi

Arashiyama is a very popular spot in Kyoto thanks to its history, nature, and clean air. Tenryuji is one of the famous temples here and was registered as a world heritage site in 1994. Kyoto has a lot of temple and shrine which was registered as a world heritage. In this article, we focus on Tenryuji.

Gate of Tenryuji

Inside the temple grounds

The temple’s garden was made by Musou Soseki. Musou Souseki is Japanese priest. He had been lived from 1275 to 1351. This garden is Japanese style and karesansui. This word means the ‘expression of water flow through rocks and sand.’  The view of this garden changes each season. In spring, you can see the view of cherry blossoms. Autumn is especially beautiful because you can see the red, green and yellow leaves. In the autumn season, are a lot of people visit Arashiyama and Tenryuji, not only oversea tourists but also Japanese people. A good time to visit is in the morning and in mid-November.

If you visit in the early morning, you can feel at one with the beautiful nature: the sound of water, the warmth of the sunrise, the natural sound of trees, the smell of the trees and so on. Try sitting on the tatami closing your eyes and feel the nature. Inside the main hall, there is a painting of a ‘cloud dragon’ on the ceiling. You can see it just on Saturday, Sunday, public holidays and the special public day in spring and autumn. The painting of the dragon is very big and beautiful. If you go the inside Tenryuji, you have to pay cash. Adults (high school student and older), pay 500 yen, elementary school and junior high school students pay 300 yen, and younger children go in for free.

 

Garden of Tenryuj

 

Tatami

Akusejo of Tenryuji

An akusejo is the certificate of the temple. The meaning of certification is the evidence of visiting. You can do this at any temple, but each place has its own book design to collect them.

akusejo of Tenryuji have been starting from the Edo period (1603 to 1867). Originally, akusejo was the stamp that people could receive from a temple when they hand-copied sutras for temples and shrines. The akusejo includes the name of the temple, the date of the visit, and kakuou-houden(覚王寶殿) which means ‘to go and worship’. Kakuou (覚王)means ‘to respect Buddha’ and houden(寶殿) means the temple building where Buddhist images are enshrined for worshipping Buddha. Nowadays, people present their books to the staff of the temple who write these phrases in their own hand writing to mark their visit to the shrine.

 

Event of Tenryuji

There are event in Tenryuji. Especially I recommend to participate Zazen(坐禅). The reason why Japanese people do Zazen is finding yourself. In order to live the way you want, Japanese people practice Zazen. If you practice Zazen, you can take stresss-free life.

There are three points when you practice Zazen. First, you have to prepare your bodies. Second, ajust your posture and third, ajust your breathing. You can practice Zazen at Tenryuji every second month Sunday and 9am to 10am. You don’t need appointment and entry fee. However, in February, July and August don’t hold.

 

Getting to Tenryuji

 

There are three ways to get there. The first is by bus and takes about 30 minutes from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama Station. There are many buses going to Arashiyama, but the most direct bus is number 28. The number and the Chinese characters“嵐山”are on the front of the bus. A one-way adult ticket costs 230 yen, children are half-price, and of course, babies can ride for free. If you intend to take buses all day, you could get the all-day ticket which costs 600 yen.

The other way is that you can go by train. First, take the JR train from Kyoto Station to Saga Arashiyama Station. It takes about 20 minutes. Change here to the Randen Line and get off at Arashiyama Station. It takes about 2 minutes. If you get off Randen, you could arrive Tenryuji by going to the right.

Alternatively, you can ride the train from Kyoto Station to Shijo Station. Then, change to the Hankyu Line from Karasuma Station to Katsura Station. Finally, you have to change the train at Katsura Station to the Arashiyama Hankyu Line and get off at Arashiyama Station.

Once you arrive, there are many shops in Arashiyama and there is also the famous Togetsukyou Bridge. If you use the Hankyu Line to go to the Tenryuji, you have to cross the bridge and go straight.

 

There are many famous temples and places to enjoy in Kyoto, but if you want to feel the natural beauty of Japan, put Tenryuji on your list!

 

 

Gozyu-no-to(五重塔)in Kyoto

Gozyu-no-to(五重塔)

〜Five Storied Pagoda〜

Saki Hirobayashi
Ikumi Maeda
Ryoya Miura

 

Kyoto has four five-storied pagodas, which are located in temples around the city: Hokan-ji, Daigo-ji, To-ji and Ninna-ji. All of them are significant buildings in Japan and have been added to the World Heritage List. They have five roofs, and each roof has a special meaning. Going from the bottom roof upwards: ‘round’, ‘water’, ‘fire’, ‘wind’ and ‘sky’. The meanings depict each worldview and express the universe in Buddhism. We highly recommend you go to these pagodas to feel each worldview. Well, let’s take a look at each one.

 

 

Five Storied Pagoda in Hokanji

Hokan-ji Temple is located in the traditional area of Higashiyama in Kyoto. Its pagoda is called Yasaka-no-to. It was built in 1440, and the height is 46 meters. Yasaka-no-to is the oldest pagoda in Kyoto and the third highest in Japan. The Higashiyama area doesn’t have a lot of tall buildings, so the pagoda is a landmark in the Higashiyama area. Yasaka-no-to is surrounded by traditional Japanese-style houses so if you go there, you can feel the history of this area.

To Yasaka-no-to takes about 25 minutes by foot from Kawaramachi. The area around Kawaramachi is quite lively and wonderful so you can go to Yasaka-no-to from there by walking while doing some nice sightseeing. Of course, you can go there by bus too. Visitors should make an appointment to go to Yasaka-no-to. Please contact there directly: Tel & Fax: 075-5512-417 (10:00am-4:00pm).

 

・Address

〒605-0862 388 Kiyomizu-yasaka-jomati, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto-prefecture ℡:075‐5512‐417

 

・Access

From Kyoto Station: Kyoto City Bus No.100, No.206

Get off at Kiyomizu-michi or Higashiyama-Yasui and walk for 5 minutes.

 

From Kawaramatchi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi): Walk for 25 minutes, or take Kyoto City Bus No. 207 and get off at Kiyomizu-michi or Higashiyama-Yasui and walk for 5 minutes.

 

 

Five Storied Pagoda in Toji

 

To-ji Temple is located in Minami-ku, near Kyoto Station. It was built in 1644; however, it has been rebuilt many times. The current structure is the fifth version. Its height is 55 meters, making it is the highest Japanese wooden building in Japan. You can see a super nice view of autumn leaves and feel the power of this five-storied pagoda in the autumn season. There are lots of tourists at that time as it is the best season for visiting this pagoda in Toji. We absolutely recommend you go there in the autumn. Of course, you can have a good experience in other seasons too!

 

Address

〒601-8473 1 Kujo-Mati, Minami-ku, Kyoto city

TEL. 075-691-3325 / FAX. 075-662-0250

 

Access

From Kyoto Station

By train: Take the Kintetsu Kyoto Line for 2 minutes. Get off at Toji Station and walk for 7 minutes.

 

From Kawaramachi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi)

By train: Get on the Keihan Line for 9 minutes. Get off at Tanbabashi Station and transfer to the Kintetsu Kyoto Line for 7 minutes. Get off at Toji Station and walk for 7 minutes.

By bus: Kyoto City Bus No. 207

Get off at Kujo-Kintetsu-mae and walk for 7 minutes.

 

Ninna-ji

Ninna-ji is a temple that was established in 888 and is now the head temple of the Shingon faction. Shingon faction is a religion that was established in the 9th century by Kukai, who was a Japanese poet. In the precincts, there is the five-storied pagoda and a two-way gate. The best view of the cherry tree is in April. The contrast between the five-storied pagoda and the cherry tree is stunning. In 1994, Ninna-ji was registered as a World Heritage Site. Historically, this temple had a good relationship with royal and aristocratic people. Many royal and aristocratic people visited here to enjoy the view and to soothe their mind. It has also been written about in Japanese poetry. It has been popular for many centuries.

 

Address

〒616-8092 Omurooouchi33, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, TEL/075-461-1155, FAX/075-464-4070

 

Access

From Kyoto Station

By train: Get on the JR Sagano Line for 11 minutes. Get off at Hanazono Station and walk for 20 minutes.

 

From Kawaramachi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi)

Take Kyoto City Bus No. 59, get off at Omuro Ninnaji and walk for 6 minutes.

 

 

Daigo-ji

Daigo-ji Temple was established in 874 and in 1994 it was registered as a World Heritage Site. Buddhist images, old rare books and pictorial art of this temple are well-known all over the world. There are about 15,000 national treasures from the middle ages in this temple. The five-storied pagoda in this temple was built in 951. This is the third oldest five-storied pagoda in Japan. The height of this pagoda is 37.44 meters and is also one of the highest pagodas in Japan. Due to its long history and height, this temple is designated as a national treasure. Also, Daigo-ji Temple is famous for its extensive grounds, so there is not only the five-storied pagoda to enjoy but also you the other buildings that are national treasures.

 

Address

〒601-1325 Higashioojityou22, Daigo, Fushimiku, TEL:075-571-0002, FAX:075-571-0101

 

Access

From Kyoto Station

Get on the Kyotosiei Karasuma Line for 5 minutes and change trains at Karasuma Oike Station. Get on the Kyotosiei Touzai Line for 21 minutes. Get off at Daigo Station and walk for 15 minutes.

 

From Kawaramachi (Shijyo-Kawaramachi)

By train: Get on the Keihan Line for 9 minutes. Get off at Tanbabashi Station and transfer to the Kintetsu Kyoto Line for 7 minutes. Get off at Toji station and walk for 7 minutes.

By bus: Take Keihan Bus No.84 and get off at Nakayamadanchi and walk for 14 minutes.

 

These four pagodas are located around the center of Kyoto City so you can visit all of them in one day. To do this, here is a recommended route. Leave Kyoto Station to go to Ninna-ji in the morning. It takes about 60 minutes by city bus. Next, leave Ninna-ji to go to Hokan-ji. It takes about 60 minutes by city bus and change to the subway. Next, leave Hokan-ji to go to Daigo-ji. It takes about 60 minutes by city bus. Finally, leave Daigo-ji to go to To-ji. It takes 60 minutes by subway and train. There are many ways to go these pagodas, but a big recommendation to buy the One-day ticket for the city buses and subway. You can buy this ticket for 900 yen. If you use this ticket, the total cost of this tour will only be 1300 yen.

 

Model plan

9:00 Kyoto City

↓City bus No. 26

10:00 Ninna-ji (60min)

↓City bus No. 26 and change to bus No.207 at Shijyo-Karasuma

12:00 Hokan-ji (60min)

13:00 Lunchtime: Around Hokan-ji (60min)

↓Subway Tozai Line

15:00 Daigo-ji (60min)

↓Subway Tozai Line and change to the Karasumi Line, then change to the Kintetsu Kyoto Line.

17:00 To-ji (60min)

↓Kintetsu Kyoto Line

19:00 Kyoto Station

 

If you visit these pagodas, you can not only enjoy viewing them but also their beautiful and historic surroundings. We hope you enjoy your trip around these national treasures!

Three Rare Torii in Kyoto

 

By Yuki Fujimoto, Sena Yagi and Misaki Kodama

 

 

What is a Torii?

Torii is an entrance gate at a shrine. It is said that it separates the world people inhabit from the world gods inhabit. So the gate is an entrance to the world which gods inhabit.

 

There is a torii in every shrine and most of these torii are similar in shape. But there are 3 rare toriis in Kyoto. So we will introduce Mihashira torii, Ishidorii and Karahafu torii for you.

 

 

 

Kaikonoyashiro ( 蚕ノ社 )

The first rare torii is Mihashira torii in Kaikonoyashiro. It is not an official name, the official shrine’s name is Konoshimanimasuamaterumitama-shrine. ( 木嶋坐天照御魂神社 ) the shrine is related with Hata-uji ( 秦氏 ). Hata-uji were ancient people who came from China and carried on the tradition of sericulture. So Kaikonoyashiro enshrines a god of fiber.

 

There are two toriis at the shrine, one at an entrance and another on the grounds of the shrine. The rare torii is on the ground of the shrine. A normal torii has two columns. But the rare torii has three columns and those three torii face toward three shrines which are related with Hata-uji, Shimogamo shrine, Fushimiinari shrine and Matsuo shrine. Stones are piled on the center of the torii and tamagushi is put on the stones. Tamagushi is a kind of decorative object which is an offering to a god. It marks a place in which a god is laid to rest.

 

There was a pond at the torii some time ago and it has dried up. It is called Mototadasu-no-ike. Tadasu is meaning to “to fix rightly”. The torii became the place in which people who have committed some sin and want to clean their souls can come. That’s why it is said people who bathed their feet in the pond water don’t get a disease. Even now the pond is replenished by pumping in some groundwater during the shrine’s event season. Then they will reproduce the old days. Visitors can wade in the healing waters in July which features a festival called Mitarashi-matsuri ( 御手洗祭 ). If you are interested in this rare torii and you want to clean your soul, please go to Kaikonoyashiro.

 

 

Information

There is no parking area. There is no entrance fee. The shrine is always open, so you can visit when you like.

 

Access

From JR Kyoto station to JR Hanazono (花園) station and walk about 10 minutes. Go straight toward the west after you exit the ticket gate. Go under Route 162 and the turn left at croft and stay on the road. Then you will see the shrine on the right hand side.

 

Take a Kyoto City bus 【28】at Kyoto station on the north side and get off at the Nishiojishijo (西大路四条). Wait for a Kyoto City bus【11】there and take it to Kaikonoyashiro.

 

Address: 50 Uzumasa-Morigahigashicho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto

TEL: (075) 861-2074

 

 

 

  1. Tomouji Shrine ( 伴氏社 )

 

Tomouji Shrine is a small shrine and torii in the precincts of Kitano-Tenman-gu Shrine (北野天満宮).

The shrine is very old, so its foundation date is unknown. Is it clear that the shrine was constructed far in the past.

Originally, the Imiake pagoda (忌明塔) was built here, but early in the Meiji Period (1868 – 1912) the Imiake pagoda was moved south, next to Higashimuki Kanonji (東向観音寺), then Tomouji shrine was constructed here.

 

Tomouji Shrine, is dedicated to Prince Michizane Sugawara※’s mother. Michizane Sugawara’s mother is a patroness of education and her reputation as a good mother is high. She was also a poet. Her worshipers pray for the growth and scholastic accomplishments of their children

 

※Michizane Sugawara (845 – 903) lived in the middle of the Heian Era (901-1068). He was a courtier, Sinologist and writer.

 

What does “Tomouji”mean?

Toumouji is called after Michizane Sugawara’s mother who was a native of Tomouji (it is came from Otmouji).

Because she is from Otomouji (one of the Japanese old ethnic group), people called so.

 

This torii is called Ishidorii (stone torii) it was made in the Kamakura Era (1185 – 1333). It is appointed in a Japanese art treasure.

 

The characteristics of Tomouji shrine

 

①Pedestal

This torii is called “Renza torii “. Renza means lotus pedestal. ②Gakuzuka (frame) Gakuzuka is something like signboard notified at the highest point of the torii’s frame. The normal torii has a Gakuzuka under the under Shimaki※, but this torii is different because Gakuzuka penetrates under Shimaki and reaches Kasagi※.

※Shimaki

※Kasaki

 

Location of Tomouji Shrine

San no torii (三の鳥居) is located near Kitano-Tenman-gu Shrine (北野天満宮)

Kitano-Tenman-gu (北野天満宮) 〒602-8386 Kitano, Bakurocho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi Tenman-gu Shrine office

Take a Kyoto City bus 50 or 101 at JR Kyoto station, then get off at the Kitano-Tenman-gu mae ( 北野天満宮前 ).

 

Opening and closing time of the tower gate

From April to September from 5:00 a.m. to 18:00 p.m.

From October to March from 5:30 a.m. to 17:30 p.m.

The shrine office, is staffed from 9:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m.

There is no admission fee.

 

 

 

 

Itsukushima shrine: Karahafu Torii

 

◎What is Karahafu Torii?

⇒It is at Kyotogoen (京都御苑) which is Itsukushima shrine (厳島神社) and one of the three great Torii of Kyoto. Karahafu Torii was built in Mie in old times. After that it was built at Kyoto in 1772.

 

◎Why is it called Karahafu Torii?

⇒ There are two common styles of Torii. They are Shinmei Torii and Myojin Torii. Most Torii are either Shinmei Torii or Myojin Torii. But Karahafu Torii is neither of these styles.  It is called Karahafu Torii which ⑦Shimagi and ①Kasagi is Karahafu style. Karahafu style is a rare Torii in Japan because it is the only one in this style. Karahafu Torii which was at  Mt. Mikami (三上山) in Shiga in olden times. So it is also called Mikami Torii. (It is written in 2 styles in kanji三上鳥居 or 御上鳥居.)

⇒Shinmei Torii.                           ⇒Myojin Torii

 

 

 

⇒Karahafu style

 

In old times, Kiyomori Taira (平清盛) was built to honor his mother from Hiroshima. And now, it is an important cultural artefact, recognized by the Japanese government.

In addition, it is one of the branches of Itsukushima shrine in Hiroshima.

 

◎Recommended spot at Kyoto Goen.

Kujo pond

(九條池) has especially good scenery of Kyoto Goen. People can look all over Shusui-tei (拾翠亭) .  Shusui-tei can be seen only from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday. During the rest of the week, it is rented for tea ceremony or gathering of haiku poets or other cultural events. If you come to there on Friday or Saturday, you should go to Shusui-tei.

⇒A view of the scenery in June.                           ⇒A view of the scenery in  August.

 

◎Where is it?

Kyoto Goen Itsukushima shrine

Address: Kyotogyoen Kamigyo-Ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Japan 602-0881

Access : Kyoto city subway Karasuma line Marutacho station (7 minutes walk)

HP: http://fng.or.jp/kyoto/

 

Beautiful Nature in Kyoto

by Suguru Takauji, Yuka Yamazaki & Hanami Yanagi

Japan has the world’s most beautiful cherry blossoms, or sakura, which bloom every year in the spring. Kyoto has a lot of shrines and temples, many of which have cherry trees on their grounds. We cannot introduce all of them at once, so in this article, we chose to focus on three that we think are some of the best places to see the amazing sakura.

Maruyama Park

Maruyama park is the oldest park in Kyoto. It is located on the east side of Kyoto, about 15 on foot from Kawaramachi station. There are many temples and shrines near the park, so you can see many different ones in a single day. Best of all, there are many kinds of cherry trees in the area. In fact, it is said that there are about 1,000 individual cherry trees blooming each spring.

During the sakura season, many Japanese go to Maruyama park, find a place to sit down, and start drinking and eating. There are lot of small shops open there selling fried potatoes and other snacks. Tons of people visit and enjoy the scene while wearing kimono. If you want to go cherry-blossom viewing and sit down while you do it, you can borrow a picnic blanket in the park.

The most famous cherry tree is called Gion Sidare or ‘Night Cherry Tree of Gion’. This impressive tree is about 12 meters tall, and the root circumference is about 4 meters. It blooms in April and it is even lit up at night by numerous lights. It is an expression of the time when people enjoyed it over 1,200 years ago. It is truly an amazing tree that people come from all over the world to see

Gion Sidare

Further inside Maruyama Park are two bronze statues, one of Ryoma Sakamoto and the other of Shintaro Nakaoka. Ryoma Sakammoto is a man of patriot. He tried to face-lift in Edo era. Shintaro Nakaoka is also man of noble patriot. They were assassinated. They buried at the Maruyama Park. Therefore, their bronze statues were built in here. Near to the road is named ‘Ryouma-zake’. If you like Japanese history, be sure not to miss these statues.

Ryoma Sakamoto & Shintaro Nakaoka

In the center of the park, there is a large pond surrounded by a traditional Japanese garden. The view changes in accordance with the seasons. Not only are the sakura beautiful, but so are the wild flowers that grow there.

Right next to Maruyama Park is the famous Yasaka Shrine. It is called Gion-san by the local Japanese people.

The most impressive thing is its ‘Seirou-mon’. This is the gate. It is symbol in here. It is found a Muromachi era. The viewing of ‘Seirou-mon’ gaze up from stone step is beautiful. This shrine is the head temple and spiritual place of disease-free.

North of Maruyama Park is a famous temple called Chion-in. It is the oldest temple made of wood in Japan. Its giant sanmon gate stands in the entrance. Next to it, there are several large, beautiful cherry trees. When their petals land on the steps, it is so beautiful.

In sum, the area in and around Maruyama Park is filled with opportunities to experience the wonderful sakura in bloom.

Kitano Shrine

Kitano Shrine is a well-known Shinto shrine located in the Kamigyoku area of Kyoto, and can be reached by a 30-min bus ride from Kyoto Station.

This shrine is associated with the god of study, so many Japanese students come to pray before they are having big exam. This is the most powerful study god in Japan. This shrine’s history goes all the way back to the Heian period, over 1,000 years ago. Since then people have been praying here for good results in their studies and exams.

Kitano Shrine

Kitano Shrine has a very nice garden with many kinds of trees. One of them is a species unique to the Kitano Shrine, called a Kitano Cherry Blossom. When it is in bloom, the color for the sakura petals is white. However, it slowly grows pink day-by-day. Finally, at the end of its bloom cycle, it has become dark pink. Isn’t that beautiful? The interesting thing is that people didn’t know it was a unique species until they researched it in the past few years.

The oldest tree on the grounds is 120 years old. How cool is that? The cherry tree is 120 years old, so it knows the end of shogun history and saw what happened in Japan during WW2 in 1945. These days, like a number of other shrines and temples around Kyoto, Kitano Shrine lights up its sakura tree collection at night. They are so beautiful.

You can not only enjoy the lit up cherry trees, but also the traditional shrine buildings. The main shrine building is such a cute structure. When night falls and it is lit up with a nice color, it is amazing.

In Autumn, Kitano Shrine has different appearance. Cherry blossoms don’t bloom this time of year. However, there are more than 300 maple trees in the garden. Their leaves turn darker in the fall, to colors like orange or brown. It is also quite lovely. It is called koyo in Japanese. Colored leaves fall down from the trees and cover the walking path. There are tons of leaves all over the place. It is amazingly beautiful. It is seems like leaf rain.

In the winter season, if you are super lucky, you can see the building covered by snow. It is also very beautiful.

As you can see, you can enjoy the Kitano Shrine in each season of the year, as each offers us a different appearance. But our recommendation is Spring. Don’t you feel romantic surrounded by 120-year-old cherry trees that get pinker day-by-day? We hope you visit there one day.

Sanzen-in Temple

Sanzenin is in the silent mountains in the countryside north of Kyoto city, in a small village named Ohara. The way to Sanzenin is a gentle slope with rice cracker shops and Japanese pickles shops along the way. Therefore, I recommend you go to Sanzenin by checking out these shops. You can enjoy Sanzenin throughout the year because the viewing is so beautiful every day. Especially, cherry blossom and hydrangeas are most famous flowers in this place. For example, several thousand hydrangeas are planted at Sanzenin. The peak bloom period is June to July. As you pass under the main gate, there is Japanese traditional garden covered with the moss. At first glance, maybe you think it has a messy appearance. However, the all positions are calculated.

Japanese traditonal garden

Also, there are a large number of miniature Ozizou-sama on the moss. Ozizou-sama is the target of belief in Japan. They are called warabe-zizou by Japanese people. The meaning of Warabe is child in Japanese. All waraze-zizou face and the body plans are different. I recommend you find your favorite one.

Inside the temple ground, there is Ojo Gokuraku in. This is temple.You can’t take pictures there, so you have to observe the rules. However, the scenery from Ojo Gokuraku in is so beautiful, and there is an old-world flavor. Although the garden is covered with green, in the autumn, you can see autumn colors. In addition, the autumn leaves fall upon the ground, so the scenery changes.

At the Yu-seien temple, there is Ougonsui of water. It is a kind of water that Japanese people say gives us long life. If you touch this water, you can get happiness. Near Sanzenin is Housen-in, a small temple where you can eat Japanese cake and green tea. This temple has a irori. Irori is Japanese traditional fireplace, that gives you a Japanese feeling. Moreover, you can see a Japanese traditional garden from the temple in which bamboo and Japanese cedar are planted.. The scenery is different from that of Sanzenin. However, it is hidden in a notable spot, so you can enjoy the silence of Kyoto there.

So that brings us to the end of our article. Remember, Maruyama Park is the oldest park in Kyoto. Therefore, you can learn about ancient Japanese culture and enjoy the same beautiful cherry blossoms that people of long ago enjoyed. At the Kitano shrine, you can enjoy viewing cherry blossoms and plums. Finally, at Sanzenin temple, in addition to cherry blossoms in the spring, you can enjoy the colorful hydrangeas in June during the rainy season.

Unryuin

by Mayu Nihari, Ayu Kitora & Yuki Fujimoto

Unryuin (雲龍院) is a temple located in the Higashiyama Ward of Kyoto, not far from Fushimiinari Shrine and Kyoto station.

Unryuin is what is known as a tatchu (塔頭), or sub-temple on the site of a main temple. Senryuin is the main temple to which Unryuin belongs, where on occasion public events of the Imperial family are held. If for any reason these events cannot be held at Senyuin, Unryuin will host them instead. In this way, Unryuin is associated in an indirect way with the Imperial family. Also, Unryuin is up on the mountain just above Senryu temple. It gives an image that dragon (龍- ryu) lives above clouds (雲- un). That’s why the temple was named Unryuin.

History of Unryuin

Unryuin was built in 1372 by Chikugan Shoko who were a Buddhist monk on the wishes of Emperor Gokougon who were the 4th emperor in Nanbokucho period. The temple developed over time with the support of Emperor Gokomatsu and Emperor Shoko who were the 101st emperor in Muromachi period. It is sacred to Yakushinyorai that is a Buddha and consists of Ryugeden and Reimeiden which are building in Unryuin.

Ryugeden was not originally in Unryuin. Josyusoushi who were a member of high official rank along with Ryugeden, which is related to Emperor Goenyu who were the 5th emperor in Nanbokucho period merged into Unryuin. Ryugeden was then designated as a nationally important cultural property. Ryugeden is a very precious building because the roof is constructed with sawara cypresses and bamboo nails. It is a traditional technique of construction in Japan.

Also, Yakushisanzon (薬師三尊), meaning ‘three statues of Buddha’ is in Ryugeden. Reimeiden was built to enshrine the spirits of the dead by the emperor of the Meiji period in 1884. The building also has close links with the Imperial family. That’s why Unryuin is held in such high esteem, even though the temple is a branch temple of Senryuin.

In the new year time, Senryu temple holds an event called, Shichifukujin Meguri. People visit Shichifukujin (Seven Deities of Good Luck) in hopes of acheiving happiness during the year. Daikokuten is one of the Shichifukujin deities in Unryuin. He features a stern look and representes prosperous business. So many business people come to Unryuin to offer blessings to him.

Window of Colored Paper

You can look out at the garden through the window of a shoji (paper sliding door). It is common to slide open a shoji in order to see what is on the outside. However, in this room, you can close the shoji and still look out onto the beautiful scenery in the garden, due to special windows created in the shoji.

From the left moving to the right there are four windows: the window of camellia, the window of lantern, the window of autumn tints, and the window of pine tree. The scenery outside each window reflects the change of the four seasons. It is a view felt that captures a very traditional Japanese feeling. In addition, you realize that the scene changes depending on angle at which you are sitting. You can totally see it like a picture of four pieces of colored paper.

The Four Seasons of Unryuin

The scenery seen in Unryuin is very beautiful. In the spring, cherry, camellia, and plum blossoms cause the scenery to turn pink. Every year, cherry blossoms bloom in April, but they change depending on climate. You can also see the beautiful garden of moss.

In the summer, there is a lot of greenery in Unryuin. Bellflowers also bloom in a corner of the garden. In addition, a Suikinkutsu (水琴窟) was added in the summer of 2017. Have you seen this unique object? This is one of the decorations of traditional Japanese gardens. It enjoys the reverberation sound that occurs when dropping water droplets by filling a pot in a cave.

In autumn, the leaves at Unryuin are very colorful, and can be enjoyed from mid-November to early December. Despite being so close to Kyoto station, there are usually few tourists, so you can enjoy it without too many people around. Furthermore, a night-time lighting-up event up is held each year. In 2017, it was from November 18th to November 26th. The fare is 400 yen and you can see a spectacular illumination of the fall leaves.

Finally, in the winter, this area of Kyoto often gets lots of snow. The temple with the snow piled on the roof is worth seeing. It gives you the feeling that you are seeing a beautiful painting. A lot of tourists visit here every year and take pictures.

As you can see, Unryuin is beautiful and impressive anytime of the year.

Sutra Copying at Unryuin

Sutra copying, or Syakyou in Japanese, means making your own handwritten copy of Buddhist scriptures. It is getting more popular recently for its effect on freeing one’s mind to a state of peace. If you are planning a healing trip to Kyoto, why don’t you consider copying sutras in Unryuin in a solemn atmosphere? Recently, the number of people copying a sutra for the purpose of relaxing their hearts and minds has increased. Living in a modern society of only the smartphone and printed word, we can feel at ease by painting Japanese characters with a brush and Indian ink.

Anyone can copy a sutra copying in Unryuin. All you need to do is just cleanse your hands with incense and start copying a sutra in red-ink. You can also enjoy green tea and cake while looking at the garden when you are finished.

Sutra copying (entry and green tea included): 1,500 yen. 9:00-15:30 (daily)

As you can see, Unryuin is famous and one of great sightseeing spots in Kyoto. In its garden, various beautiful plants bloom all year round, and it is very enjoyable whenever you visit. Moreover, the experience of sutra copying will be a wonderful memory. Also, you can visit other famous temple nearby, such as Sennyuji (泉涌寺) and Kaikouji (戒光寺).

Access

TEL:075-541-3916

Address:36 Sennyuji Yamanochicho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0977, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan

Business hours:9:00 am – 16:30 pm (Irregular day off)

Worship fee:adult – 400yen / child – free of charge