Kyoto Shisen-do Villa 京都 詩仙堂

Shisen-do Villa

The autumn beauty at Shisen-do Villa is amazing, with a garden sparkling with bright red maples. This was once a residence of a retired samurai, Ishikawa Jozan (1583-1672). Jozan had a profound knowledge of both Chinese and Japanese literature and art, and he planned this villa and garden, making great use of this knowledge. Another garden designed by Jozan is Shosei-en Garden near Kyoto Station. The villa is located in the outskirts of Kyoto at Ichijo-ji Sagarimatsu, which is also famous as the place where great swordsman Miyamoto Mushashi (1582-1645) fought a duel with Yoshioka School. read more


Kyoto Ryoan-ji Temple 京都 龍安寺

Ryoan-ji Temple

Since Queen Elizabeth II visited this rock garden and highly praised it in 1975, huge numbers of people have flocked to Ryoan-ji Temple everyday. Fifteen rocks are arranged into five groups on the moss-coated islands and they are scattered about in a rectangular white sand garden. We see plenty of space between them. And most parts of the rocks are buried deeply under the ground, so they look like they are floating on a sandy sea. You might see the world in this space. Or you might feel time piling up above the space. The rocks maintain tension between one another to create a perfect balance. The garden shows you something invisible. Very Zen. see more photos


Kyoto Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine 京都 北野天満宮

Kitano-tenmangu Shrine

A peaceful spring breeze brought with it a delicate sweet fragrance of plum blossoms on that day. Kitano Tenman-gu Shrine has a large plum blossom garden with 50 varieties of plum and 1500 plum trees. Thick pink, light pink, greenish-white, or clear white. A great variety of colors and sizes of flowers were blooming, contesting with one another for our attention. Visitors were enjoying a pleasant walk between the trees. Cattle (messengers of the enshrined deity that you will see here and there in the shrine grounds) also looked very happy under the beautiful plum blossoms. see the photos


Kyoto Kennin-ji Temple 京都 建仁寺

Kennin-ji Temple

Kennin-ji Temple is situated very near Kyoto's Gion geisha quarters. Go straight on the busy Shijo-dori Street toward Yasaka Jinja Shrine, and turn right at the corner of famous teahouse “Ichiriki-tei”, then walk along Gion’s Hanami-koji street. This is where you really feel Kyoto! After that, you will reach the north gate of Kennin-ji Temple in a few minutes. Not only visitors, but also local people come into the precincts of Kennin-ji Temple all day long. People use the temple grounds as their regular walkway. Kennin-ji Temple is quite open to everyone! read more


Kyoto Kinkaku-ji Temple 鹿苑寺金閣

Kinkaku-ji Temple

Kinkaku-ji Temple (completed in 1398 and now officially called Rokuon-ji Temple) is usually translated as “Temple of the Golden Pavilion.” Although we tend to focus on the gorgeous building there called Kinkaku, the whole area is actually very special. read more



Kyoto Ginkaku-ji Temple 慈照寺銀閣

Ginkaku-ji Temple

Ginkaku-ji Temple (completed in 1490 and now officially called Jisho-ji Temple) is usually translated as “Temple of the Silver Pavilion.” But it’s not silver, actually. Compared to the gorgeous and dramatic building “Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku),” it is dark-colored, quiet and simple. Why then is it called the Silver Pavilion? The reason is that the concept of the pavilion and all the settings in its precincts are focused on special moon-viewing. While Kinkaku shines brilliant gold under the sun, Ginkaku was planned to shine a delicate silver under the moon. read more



Springtime in and near Kamakura 鎌倉の春

Engaku-ji Temple Engaku-ji Temple


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1 Jomyo-ji Temple: Enjoy the sweet and sour fragrance of plum blossoms near the trees!
*Plum blossoms in late February to early March
2 Komyo-ji Temple: A temple that is open to all, and full of life
*Cherry blossoms in early April
3 Kencho-ji Temple: Walk through a cherry blossom tunnel!
*Cherry blossoms in early to mid April
4 Engaku-ji Temple: Enjoy large cherry trees near San-mon Gate
*Cherry blossoms in early April
5 Jokomyo-ji Temple: Flower temple in a quiet valley
*Cherry blossoms in mid April, weeping cherry, spiraea and azalea in late April
6 Myohon-ji Temple: Beautiful pink hues of flowering crabapples
*Flowers of crabapple in mid April
7 Kaizo-ji Temple: Crabapple, spiraea and karria flowers in springtime
*Flowers of crabapple and spiraea in mid to late April
8 Kosoku-ji Temple: See its famous, wonderful, 200-year-old crabapple tree
*Flowers of crabapple tree in mid to late April
9 Tokei-ji Temple: Many kind of flowers bursting with color, one after another
*Camellia and yae-zakura cherry trees in mid April, peonies in late April
10 Shomyo-ji Temple: Feel heaven in the “Land of Perfect Bliss”
*Cherry blossoms in early April, yellow iris in mid May

1. 浄妙寺の梅
2. 光明寺の桜
3. 建長寺の桜
4. 円覚寺の桜
5. 浄光明寺の桜、水仙、雪柳
6. 妙本寺の花海棠
7. 海蔵寺の花海棠、雪柳、山吹
8. 光則時の樹齢200年の花海棠
9. 東慶寺の桜、芍薬、木瓜、椿、著莪
10. 称名寺の桜と黄菖蒲