May 17, 2019
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.
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 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.
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
Address: 55, Kamitakanohigashiyama, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
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.