As you already might read, the last day of the business trip we spent in Arashiyama district, visiting special openings and mountain temples.
We met another designer friend and business partner, but none of the gardening branch.
Together we walked down the river to Tenryū-ji’s sub-temple Hōgon-in.
I wanted to see the gravel bed of big blue stones with my own eyes and I still think Hōgon-in is a very nice temple with lots of beautiful rocks and moss.
Hōgon-in was first built in 1461 and relocated twice after that.
It was also destroyed during Onin war.
Near Tenryū-ji it is located since the Meiji period.
There was another sub-temple of Tenryū-ji with special opening, the Kōgen-ji.
It’s a very small temple at the way to the main gate of Tenryū-ji. It was founded 1429 under Hosokawa Mochiyuki, a nephew of Hosokawa Yoriyuki, who is said to had Hōgon-in built, but was sadly already dead, when Hōgon-in was founded.
There are two gardens in Kōgen-ji. The garden in front of the hallway, a Karesansui garden, and a pond garden in the back.
It is not possible to view the gardens from outside, only from the room through windows.
From Tenryū-ji we walked up to the mountain through the Arashiyama bamboo forest and I could see, that it is quite more beautiful on pictures as in real..
The bamboo fences were old and covered with climbers and old leaves.
Perhaps it is nicer in spring or summer..
In the mountains we visited two gardens. One of them was very very beautiful, but let me describe the other first..
It is called Jojakko-ji and the main hall was under construction.
That’s why we were unable to view the garden properly. It might be beautiful…
It is very small and mainly is a pond with nature around it.
The temple calls itself “The temple without walls”.
In 1596, during the Azuchi-Momoyama period, the land at Mount Ogura was given to priest Nisshin by the Suminokura family.
In 1892 it became an official affiliate temple of Honkoku-ji, the main temple of the Nichiren sect.
The second temple in that area, and the second last we visited in Kyoto, was Giō-ji.
It is surrounded by a bamboo forest, which gives the garden a homely atmosphere.
The garden is actually a mossy area between some japanese maples with a small stream running through it. Nobody, except for japanese garden lovers, would call it a “garden” by it’s means.
But if you been there and experienced it, you will call it a garden by instance.
There is no clear history file about Giō-ji, but it is said to have been founded by Nembutsubo Ryochin, a student of Priest Hōnen, who lived from 1133 until 1212 and founded a new buddhist sect, the Jōdo-shū.
The temple was renamed later after a beauty, called “Giō”, who became a nun still young of age because she lost favor with Kiyomori, a military leader who established the first samurai-dominated government of Japan.
It was really really beautiful and tend to be one of my favorites among the backyard garden of Jisso-in, Hōgon-in’s rocks and Kennin-ji’s Chō-on-tei.
You see, I like green gardens with moss.
But of course, because there are a lot of Karesansui lovers among you, I visited rock gardens too!
That’s why our last way let to one special, very very famous, rock garden!
You already guess it, right?
We went to Ryōan-ji of course!
I’ve visited it once before in 2006. But there were some reasons why I wanted to visit it again.
We got there about an hour before closing time. Lucky! So it was of course crowded, but not too crowded!
When I first visited the garden 8 years ago, I was surprised to find a huge pond garden. As I only had heard of the stone garden before.
What I also had forgotten was, that one was allowed to take pictures everywhere. Also inside the building.
The rock garden is said to be created by Zen monk Tokuho Zenketsu.
Ryōan-ji was built at the ground of the Fujiwara clan, which was bought by Hosokawa Katsumoto in 1450.
Hosokawa Katsumoto is by the way the son of Hosokawa Mochiyuki, whom we already know from Kōgen-ji.
His son Masamoto let Ryōan-ji re-built after it was destroyed in Onin war.
After taking the obligatory pictures of the rock garden, I enjoyed strolling through the spacey grounds of the temple, walking through a “Kyoto cedar” forest, found a moss nursery and had the opportunity to take beautiful pictures of the entrance without anybody in it.
This was the last station on this very busy and very beautiful business trip and I had to head back to busy Tokyo.
As pretty as the maples in autumn were, I could not see any more after that. I was full to the brim. A little bit more and I’m sure, I would have been not able to visit autumn spots the next year too.
Luckily I recovered and hope to visit my beloved Oume or another destination in autumn 2015!
What temples would you like us to visit next year?
Let us know and get nice pictures + report!
Of course you can also always let us know which eBook you would like me to write next!