Hama-rikyū-onshi-teien (浜離宮恩賜庭園)

Hama-rikyū-onshi-teien (浜離宮恩賜庭園)

There are a great many things to see in this roughly square 60-acre park, but chief among these are the tidal pond (Shioiri-no-ike 潮入の池) with its massive floodgate, the duck-hunting blinds, the staggered bridges shaded by wisteria trellises, and a 300-year-old pine cascading down a stepped trellis.

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Kinkaku-ji   金閣寺

Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺

Kinkaku-ji gets its name from the “Golden Pavilion” with its top two floors covered in gold leaf. It is formally known as Rokuon-ji (Deer Park Temple). The surrounding gardens were designed to resemble the Western Paradise of Amida Buddha. The beautiful stroll gardens wrap above the pavilion along a small stream that flows into Kyouko-chi (Mirror Pond). It is also the home of the Sekka-tei teahouse.

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Koke-dera 苔寺  (or Saihōji  西芳寺)

Koke-dera 苔寺 (or Saihōji 西芳寺)

Koke-dera, or officially “Saiho-ji” (Moss Temple) was founded by Buddhist priest Gyoki and redone by Zen Priest and well-known garden designer Muso Kokushi (Soseki) in 1339. Although it is known today as the Moss Temple because of its 120 species of moss, it was not planned this way. Through centuries of wars, destruction, floods, reconstruction and neglect, nature finally claimed Saiho-ji, and the mosses slowly took hold, converting what was left of the garden into a beauty of nature. The garden is more commonly known as the Moss Temple and is home to 120 types of moss.

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Kōtō-in   高桐院

Kōtō-in 高桐院

Koto-in was established in 1601 by Tadaoki Hosokawa. He was a famous warrior under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, studied Zen under the Daitoku-ji abbot, Seigan, and was a distinguished disciple of tea master, Sen no Rikyu. When Rikyu was ordered to commit suicide, he left many treasured possessions to Hosokawa. Koto-in is home to two famous tea houses, Shoko-ken (built by Hosokawa in 1628) and Horai. There is a famous wash basin made from a stone brought from the Imperial Palace in Korea.

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Nijo-jo   二条城

Nijo-jo 二条城

Ninomaru Palace was built in 1603 as the official residence of Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. It is a compound of grand buildings and many gardens surrounded by stone walls, thick gates and a moat. The castle was given to the Imperial Family in 1867 and named Nijo Detached Palace (Nijo-jo).

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Suizen-ji Joju-en  水前寺成趣園

Suizen-ji Joju-en 水前寺成趣園

The 15 acre Suizen-ji Joju-en is located in downtown Kumamoto.  Todatoshi Hosokawa selected the site for the spring-fed pool that provided excellent tea water. He founded the temple named Suizen-ji here in 1632, and began construction on the gardens in 1636.  The...

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Tenryu-ji  天龍寺

Tenryu-ji 天龍寺

Tenryu-ji (Dragon of the Sky Temple) was established in 1339 by Ashikaga Takauji on the site once held as a residence for Emperor Gosaga and Kameyama. Prior to that, Japan’s first Zen temple, Danrin-ji, was founded by Empress Tachibana no Kachiko. The beautiful Sogenchi stroll garden was created in 1345 by Muso Soseki, the temple founder, and is designated a Special Historic Site and a Special Historic Scenic Area. Mount Arashiyama can be seen in the background. It is formally known as Shiseizen-ji, the head temple of the Tenryū branch of Rinzai Zen Sect.

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Byodo-in 平等院

Byodo-in 平等院

Byodo-in was built by Fujiwara no Yorimichi as a Buddhist Pure Land garden at his family’s Villa in Uji, east of Kyoto. The only building of the palace that survives today is the Phoenix Hall 鳳凰堂. Completed in 1053, it was later converted a Buddhist temple. The Phoenix Hall sits on an island facing east where the statue of Amida Nyorai, carved by Jocho, greets the rising sun as he looks across the Pure Land Lake. At nearly a thousand years old, Phoenix Hall is one of the few surviving examples of Heian period architecture.

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Daisen-En  大仙院

Daisen-En 大仙院

This sub-temple of Daitoku-ji was built in 1509 by Zen Daisho Kogaku Sotan and contains one of the most well-known gardens in the “karesansui” (dry landscape) style. Its symbolism follows the abstract philosophy of the Zen sect. Tea master Sen no Rikyu received Zen training in this temple and held many tea ceremonies here. Paintings by Soami on the screens of the temple point to his hand in the design and construction of the garden.

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Heian Jingu   平安神宮

Heian Jingu 平安神宮

The 8 acre Shin-in Garden (Garden of the Gods) is divided into four parts:

Heian no Sono (south): With its many cherry trees, It also contains many plants identified with passages from the famous Japanese novel, The Tale of Genji.

Seiho (west): The Byakko-ike (White Tiger Lake) is the centerpiece for the West Garden. In June, 2ooo iris are in bloom in the lake here.

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Ginkaku-ji  銀閣寺

Ginkaku-ji 銀閣寺

Use arrows to browse images, or click photo for full screen slide show. Description: Ginkaku-ji, or the Temple of the Silver Pavilion was built by Shogun, Yoshimasa Ashikaga as part of his retirement villa. At his...

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Shugakuin Imperial Country Villa  修学院離宮

Shugakuin Imperial Country Villa 修学院離宮

The view from the foot of Mount Hiei provides a magnificent view of the city and the mountains to the North in a good example of Shakkei (borrowed scenery). This 545,000 square meter villa consists of three parts, Upper Villa, Middle Villa, and Lower Villa. The name comes from the burned Shugakuin Temple from the middle Heian Period.

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Kiyomizu-dera  清水寺

Kiyomizu-dera 清水寺

Kiyomizu-dera (Clear Water Temple) was established in the year 778 AD (Nara Period).  After a vision, Zen priest Enchin, went in search the origins of the Yodo river.  He came to a waterfall at the base of Mount Otowa where  mist hovered like clouds.  Here he received...

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Daitoku-ji  大徳寺

Daitoku-ji 大徳寺

Daitoku-ji  the ‘temple of Great Virtue’ is a Buddhist temple, one of fourteen autonomous branches of the Rinzai school of Japanese Zen. It is located in Kita-ku, Kyoto, Japan.  Daitoku-ji operates some twenty-two sub-temples, the most significant being Daisen-in,...

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Rikugi-en  六義園

Rikugi-en 六義園

Rikugien was constructed by Yoshiyasu Yanagisawa on this land given to him by the fifth shogun Tsunayoshi Tokugawa. Yoshiyasu spent seven years from the time he was granted the land in 1695 constructing a garden with paths around artificial hills and a pond.

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Jizō-In  地蔵院

Jizō-In 地蔵院

Jizō-in is a small Rinzai sect temple constructed in 1367 by Yoriyuki Hosokawa, with the founding priest, Musō Soseki.  Stationed in a thick grove of bamboo, this peaceful place is commonly known as "Take-no-Tera" or Bamboo Temple.  The stones in the garden represent...

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Koko-En   好古園

Koko-En 好古園

Koko-en was constructed in 1992 at the foot of Himeji castle where Samurai residences stood during the Edo period. Its construction commemorated the 100th anniversary of Himeji City. It is named after the Koko do provincial school, founded by Lord Sakai in 1692.
There are 9 individual gardens, including Oyashiki-no-niwa (‘Feudal Lord’s Residence Garden’) and Cha-no-niwa (Tea Garden) with its Sukiya-style tea house, Soju-an. There is also Summer Tree Garden (a garden of deciduous trees), Hill & Pond garden, a garden of flowers popular during the Edo Period, and Garden of the Stream.

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Kodai-ji   高台寺

Kodai-ji 高台寺

From the official website in English: Kodai-ji Temple is located north east of Yasaka Hokanji Temple at the foot of Higashiyama Ryozen Mountains in Kyoto.  It is officially called Kodaiji-jushozenji Temple.  The temple was established in 1606 by Kita-no-Mandokoro...

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Chion-in in Higashiyama  知恩院

Chion-in in Higashiyama 知恩院

The Hojo Garden is in the chisen kaiyushiki (garden which is designed around a pond) style and is said to have been designed in the early Edo (1600-1868) period by the monk Gyokuen, who was connected to garden master Kobori Enshu. The garden includes the Shinji-ike (Heart Character) Pond, the Aoi-an Teahouse, and the Tokugawa Gongendo Hall. The cherry blossoms in the spring, the fresh greenery in early summer, the reflection of the autumn foliage onto the Shinji-ike Pond, and the snowy scenery and clear air in the winter can all clearly be seen, and along with imposing view of the Higashiyama mountains in the background, the garden exudes the moods of the four seasons.

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Saimyo-ji   西明寺

Saimyo-ji 西明寺

Saimyo-ji: Founded in the early ninth century by Chisen, a disciple of Kukai, Saimyo-ji is situated on a mountain northwest of Kyoto, above the Kiyotaki River. Like nearby Jingo-ji Temple, it is well-known for its beautiful Autumn foliage.

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Ryoanji  竜安寺

Ryoanji 竜安寺

Ryōan-ji (Temple of the Peaceful Dragon) is a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect and an amazing example of karesansui landscape.  The simplicity of rammed earth walls, raked gravel and carefully set stones hides a dramatic tale that has been read so many ways. Ryōan-ji is...

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Zuihō-in  瑞峯院

Zuihō-in 瑞峯院

Zuihō-in is a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji founded by Lord Sorin Ohtomo in 1546 as the family temple.  The main hall and gate are original structures. Although Ohotomo was inspired by the teachings of Zen Buddhism by  Tetsushu, the 91st patriarch of Daitoku-ji, he was...

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