68 Sagatenryūji Susukinobabachō,
Kyōto-fu 616-8385, Japan
9:00-17:00 Daily Summer
9:00-16:00 Daily winter (Oct. 21-Mar. 20)
Built in 1339 by the ruling shogun of the time, Ashikaga Takauji, Tenryū-ji is another gem in Kyoto.
The famous garden was designed by Muso Soseki, who also created the fabulous garden of Kokedera (Moss Temple – which requires much advance planning and is on our bucket-list).
As Tenryū-ji is a large complex network of temples and gardens, we have the following recommended itinerary:
1. Bamboo grove
2. Okochi Sanso garden
3. Shingetsu vegetarian restaurant @ Tenryū-ji – reservation is mustand walk-ins will receive a firm “NO”!
Note: if you forget to make a reservation for Shingetsu you can go to any of the tofu restaurants on the main street leading to the train station
5. Lunch at Tenryū-ji or any of the other restaurants on the way to the train station
We know eventually one gets “templed-out” in Kyoto; so we recommend to head to Tenryū-ji earlier in your stay. It has many subtle and beautiful elements that may suffer in appreciation after such over the top builds such as the Golden Temple at Kinkaku-ji or the sheer scale of Kyomizu Dera!
Awataguchi Sanjobocho, 6 9-1, Higashiyama Ward; Kyoto Prefecture 605-0035, Japan
9:00-17:00 Daily special evenings open for light show
Wwith four gardens connecting it’s buildings, Shōren-in is a marvelous temple, of the Buddhism Tendai sect, dating from the 12th century. An easy visit, being only five minute walk from Higashiyama, it’s small shrine and a expansive bamboo grove would be a shame to miss.
Inside the temples Kacho-den room, the screens are adorned with Fusuma paintings of lotus flowers by the artist Kimura Hideki; while above hang 36 framed portraits and poems from 36 seperate poets. Behind th Kacho-den room is the tearoom with view over the Soami-no-niwa Garden. During the cold months, this is the most delightful place to enjoy a hot drink and a sweet while absorbing the beauty of the garden.
33 Omuroouchi, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto,
Kyoto Prefecture 616-8092, Japan
Ninna-ji was originally built in the year 886-888 by Emperors Kōkō and Uda as the head temple of the Omuro School of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. However, none of the buildings from the temple’s foundation in the 9th century still survive. The oldest buildings date back to the beginning of the Edo Period in the early 1600s. The Kannon Hall, the Niomon front gate, the Chumon inner gate and the five storied pagoda are standouts among the temples..
Worth note is the Goten. The former residence of the head priest, in the southwestern corner of the temple complex. Here sliding doors (fusuma) provide a broad open view to the beautiful stones and pond.
If you are in season, look for the grove of locally Omuro Cherries!