SAGANO (Rakushisya, Nisonin, Chikurin, and Tenryuzi)

March 24, 2020

by Noa Murakami & Masashi Morishita

This article will introduce about a hidden and recommended spot in the Sagano area, which is located in the depths of Arashiyama in Kyoto. You can visit Sagano on foot from the Randen Line from Arashiyama Station. Although many tourists visit Arashiyama, only a few people visit Sagano because there are a lot of other tourist spots in Arashiyama that are well known by many foreigners. Therefore, we want a lot of people to know about the fascination of Sagano and to visit Sagano after reading this article. In addition, we hope that you enjoy new attractiveness in Kyoto and feel Japanese culture.

RAKUSHISYA

Rakushisya was a historical spot for Kyorai Mukai who was a pupil of Basho Matsuo and succeeded him from 1688 to 1704 as a Haiku poet in the Sagano area. Haiku is a Japanese poem with seasonal words. One of Mukai’s poems said that there were 40 kaki trees in this garden (Rakushisya) but most of the persimmon (fruit) fell down in one night. “Raku” in “Rakushisya” means “fall down” ,“shi” means “kaki” and “sya” means “building” in Japanese.

Therefore, it is said that this story is the origin of “Rakushishya”. You can enjoy 13 monuments from poems that were written by 13 people including Kyorai Mukai and Basho Matsuo. Also, you can enjoy a Japanese garden and Shishiodoshi: it is a Japanese traditional tool that was used to drive away deer, boar and birds. However, it was put it in some Japanese gardens because Shishiodoshi has a beautiful sound. In addition, you can post your haiku and read other’s haiku at Rakushisya.

NISONIN

Nisonin is a temple that was built by instructions of the Saga emperor 700 years ago. It became a designated cultural property of Kyoto. In addition, there are a lot of fascinating spots, and you can enjoy it there in all 4 seasons.

Especially, “Sando”, which is the road to go to the main temple called “Kouyou no Baba”, is known as spot of tinted autumnal leaves in the fall. Also, as you go up the stairs from “Sando”, you can see the main temple. In this space, there are two statues. On the right side is a statue of Shaka Nyorai and on the left side is a statue of Amida Nyorai. These were painted gold and put in the center of the main temple. Moreover, you can enjoy a gong called “Siawase no Kane”. This is a gong to wish happiness that we are alive, to give thanks for all things such as food, clothes and residential areas around us, and to make people happy all over the world. For these reasons, you have to ring the gong three times. Nisonin has a comfortable space and makes you relax. Also, you can look around and make yourself at home because there are only a few people who go there every day.

CHIKURIN

Next, we’ll introduce “Chikurin” in Sagano. The meaning of Chikurin is a pass which is covered with a lot of bamboo. It is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Kyoto. You can walk through the pass covered with tens of thousands of bamboo if you visit there. It is very beautiful.

Many tourists visit this place every day. We recommend that you go there in the early morning or in the evening if you want to take beautiful photos because there are few people at that time.  In addition, you can go sightseeing on a Jinrikisha (see the photo below). It looks like a sofa for two people with large wheels on both sides. If you feel tired, we recommend that you choose a Jinrikisha. If you visit Chikurin in the summer, you will feel a very cool breeze. Conversely, you can see Chikurin, which is lit up with a lot of lights when you visit there in the winter. Please visit Chikurin if you want to relax in nature.

a Jinrikisha

TENRYUZI

Finally, we want to introduce “Tenryuzi”. It is a historical temple registered as a world heritage site. It is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto. It was built more than 700 years ago.

When you enter inside, you can see a very beautiful garden. You can see cherry trees in the spring, and you can see beautiful leaves which turn red in the autumn. You can also see beautiful green leaves in the summer. In addition, this place turns into a delightful snow scene in the winter. You can see different views from the four seasons. Because there are directional markers (directions) and staff there, you can visit there easily and smoothly.

CONCLUSION

We visited Arashiyama to go to Sagano but there were a lot of people at Arashiyama Station because Arashiyama is well known and is a famous place in Kyoto. Therefore, we were not able to be relaxed. However, Sagano has only a few people who visit there every day. It is a very quiet place, which is full of nature. There were directions in foreign languages such as English, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese, so you will be able to go sightseeing in peace. There are also a lot of historical Japanese buildings in Sagano, and there is also a souvenir shop nearby. We think that Arashiyama is a good place. However, we recommend that you go to Sagano to go sightseeing. Please go and have a wonderful time.

Access Information

Rakushisya“: It takes about fifteen minutes on foot from Saga Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line).

It takes about fifteen minutes on foot from Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line).

It takes about twenty five minutes on foot from Arashiyama Station (Hankyu Line).

TEL: 075-881-1953

Time: 9:00AM-5:00PM

Nisouin“: It takes about ten minutes on foot from Saga Arashiyama Station (JR Sagano Line).

It takes forty-five minutes by bus from JR Kyoto Station.

TEL: 075-861-0687

FAX: 075-861-7972

Time: 9:00AM-4:30PM

Chikurin“: It takes about five minutes on foot from Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line).

Tenryuzi“: It takes one minute on foot from Arashiyama station (Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line).

TEL: 075-881-1235

Time: 8:30AM-5:30PM (March 21st-October 20th)

    8:30AM-5:00PM (October 21st-March 20th)

Foreign Impressions of the Kamo River

By Hiroto Shima and Aina Sasaki

Is there a river where you live? Do you often go for a walk there? We are familiar with Kamo River, because our school is in Kyoto. There are paths along both banks where people walk, jog and bicycle. When we come to Kamo River, we always see foreigners there. So, we tried a questionnaire.

First, the Kamo River is the main river that runs through Kyoto, from the north to the south.. In the old days, the Kamo flooded its banks many times during typhoons but now such natural disasters are rare since high banks have been built. Now the river is a place of rest and Kyoto people can spend time there slowly. The Kamo river has some charms. One famous charm is its abundance of nature. Many creatures, such as the giant Japanese salamander and ayu sweetfish are living in the river . There are also many birds—ducks, white egrets, blue herons, cormorants and seagulls in winter.

The Kamo River has many beautiful views and can be recommended in every season. In spring many cherry trees are blossoming on its banks, so it is a popular place for cherry-viewing parties. So the Kamo is loved by many people including locals and foregin tourists.

Cherry tree

Cherry tree

 

The Kamo River is located near the Kyoto Station. The Kamo is a good geographic landmark, so it can help visitors navigate the city. It is good place to have lunch on a bench, take a little break or have coffee at a riverside café. We can often see local people walking or jogging on the mornings and evenings. The Kamo river is one of the symbols of Kyoto. More tourists will visit Kyoto in the future and they are sure to visit the Kamo River.

Jogging at Kamo river

Jogging at Kamo river

We met three foreign people at the river and asked them the following questions:

1. Where are you from?

2. What have you seen at the Kamo river that you will remember?

3. Do you have a river in your hometown? How similar or different to the Kamo river is it?

Their answers were so wonderful that we would like to relate them here:

First of all, we will introduce the answers of a French woman. She said that she recalls the memory of playing in the river when she was young. She lives in Lyon in France and they have a river too. The river is divided into two branches that are named la Saone and la Rhone. There people can run, chat together on riverside benches, play on the grass, skateboard—many people use the river as a place to relax. Her image about Kamo river is that it is more natural and at the Kamo river we can see cherry blossom and autumn leaves and feel the four seasons. Both rivers are similar in that they are places to relax and people can enjoy themselves without spending much money.

The second person we met lives in Finland. She said when she saw the Kamo river she thought that Japan is very beautiful place. Finland has a lake named Uthah lake, it is not river but many people relax there. She said she has never seen the people playing beside the Kamo, but Uthah lake has a lot of people playing. And also she said both are loved by many people.

The third person we met is from America. When she came to the Kamo river it reminded her of her boyfriend. Her boyfriend is not Japanese but he lives in Japan so when they meet in Kyoto, they definitely come to the Kamo River. She told us about a river in Minnesota: it is used only as a place for walking or jogging, whereas the Kamo is a good spot to chill out. Because there are cafes and convenience stores nearby,  the Kamo is very convenient. She also said the Kamo has great nature and is a good place to relax.

Kamo river at night

Kamo river at night

 

 

A Visit to Hiei

by Airi Kinoshita

About 1200 years ago, when Emperor Kammu established Heian-kyō (the former name of Kyoto city) as the capital of Japan, Mt.Hiei in the northeast of the city was regarded as the only defect in the city‘s wealth of natural advantages. No one would come near to the wild mountain as it was rumored that demons and evil spirits were hanging out there, so Emperor Kammu ordered the building of Enryakuji temple to appease or expel these demons and strengthen Kyoto’s defenses. Northeast is believed to be an unlucky direction in the Shinto religion, which accounts for why people often built temples or shrines in the northeast to create barriers against anything evil.

Now, Mt.Hiei is no longer the horrible place that troubled Emperor Kammu so much, rather, it has become a popular tourist spot. Many hotels and restaurants have been built in neighboring areas, and there is a cable car and a ropeway service also available. You will find many options open to you on your visit, but I would like to introduce two that I think are quite special.

The Garden Museum


The first spot is The Garden Museum on Hiei. The museum grounds are designed using the artworks of French and Dutch impressionists like Monet, Renoir and Van Gogh for inspiration. Visitors will be welcomed by about 100,000 flowers of 1400 varieties including roses, lilacs, water lilies, daffodils and so on. One of the most popular gardens is the Water Lilies Garden, which was inspired by the artwork of Monet. Monet admired Japanese sense of beauty so much that he made a great Japanese style garden, including a lake with floating water lilies, around his residence, and drew several pictures of it. I am sure you will understand why this type of garden fascinated Monet so much when you visit here. Afterwards, when you got tired of walking, you can always stop in at Café de Paris and enjoy a drink from their selection of herb teas. Moreover, Maison de Fleur, a souvenir shop in the museum, not only sells French general goods or aroma oils but also provides workshops on how to make original herb soaps.

The Cafe de Paris


The second spot I feel is most worthy is Hiei-zan Enryakuji. I have already introduced the origins of the temple, but now it has become a far more visitor-friendly place. The temple welcomes visitors who lead busy lives and are in need of some peace and quiet, and allows them to experience zazen or shakyo. Zazen is a style of meditation done in a cross-legged position, and shakyo is the transcribing of sutras. Both require you to put all other thoughts out of your mind and concentrate on self-identification. In the clean, fresh air and nature of Mt.Hiei, you will be able to forget all that troubles you in daily life and feel as if you are reborn.

Enryakuji Temple

Hiei autumn colours