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!
(81) 75.872-2233 8-3 Sagaogurayama Tabuchiyamacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8394, Japan
Open Hours: 9:00-17:00 Daily
Located a 15 minute walk from Tenryūji Temple, on the slopes of Mount Ogura, at the end of the famous Arashiyama Tenryū-ji Bamboo Forest , is hidden this most beautiful place; Okochi Sanso. The former home and garden of the actor Denjirō Ōkōchi (1898–1962) the villa became public after his death in 1962.
Ōkōchi -san’s movie career spanned over 5 decades from 1926 – 1962. Escaping from the bustle of set, He retreated to the land and designed (mostly himself) this calming collection of gardens and buildings through the 1930s – 40s.
Narrow pathways, past the vistas and forests, will bring you to a small museum (for Denjirō Ōkōchi and his life in film), as well as the Jibutsudō – an original Meiji Era building. On your short walk, you can experience a most wonderful view of the fall foliage should you be present during the Autumn; and, with assumption, the same must be true for the spring bloom!
Keep your eyes open for a very discrete path. Via this hidden corridor, there is a secret building most visitors miss. Inside one will find, on one side, yet another perfect zen garden and on the back, a view to the mountains. Lovingly, this room has tables prepared paper and ink for any visitor to practice calligraphy.
After all Kyoto’s palaces and temples, one could really feel the personal love that Okochi Sanso put into his own home.
Kenrokuen literally means “Garden of the Six Sublimities”. Looking into Chinese landscape theory, we see the six essential attributes that make up a perfect garden: Spaciousness, Seclusion, Artificiality, Antiquity, Abundant water and Broad views.
Experiencing these six essential qualities, combined in a single sculptured experience, makes something truly magical.
Kenrokuen used to be the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle; a private enclave to the Shogun. It was opened to the public in 1871 and has attracted people the world over since.
Kenrokuen is the type of place that words cannot due justice. Once again, we recommended day and evening visit. During the day there is a very cute tea house constructed in 1725 and at night, the lights are simply … sublime.
Open Hours: Castle: 7:00 – 18:00 Daily Gardens: Open longer
A leisurely stroll through Kanazawa Castle and the surrounding landscape are a joy shared.
The castle grounds are open until late, we were very lucky on the evening we were there to take in a fantastic light show over the water in the Gyokusen’inmaru garden. This piece of natural landscaping is a multilevel garden, complete with cliff, waterfall, islands and lovey bridges sits close to the gate of it’s own name
Sadly our visit to Kanawaza was too short and we did not have time to fully visit the castle interiors throughout the day. Luckily, there is this interesting link describing the buildings standing technical exhibit.
If you have the time, it is recommended to take both a day and evening visit; as the castle is a much different experience by day – where one can bathe in its lovely lines and inspiring size (and pop into the 21st Century Museum)- and by night – where you can feel the heavy presence of defense and the violence that spawned such a grand structure.
The Botanical Gardens in Quindio, Colombia is small and special. The entire space covers 15 hectares (36 acres) of which only 3 hectares (7.2 Acres) are open for public visits. This is a lovely theme in Colombian parks. Their main goal is to conserve, such that a large portion of parkland is set aside and not available for public access.
Walking the winding paths through the forests one can identify (with the help of the cheery, knowlegable guides) many species ofpalm trees. Colombia has the second largerst diversity of palms in the world with 235 known varieties. At the garden in Quindio, you can enjoy 150 of these species spread though the forest.
Another Botanical attraction is the wide assortment of ferns, giving the park its Jurassic feel. Ferns are the most ancient of plants on earth; so old that they predate seeds, and reproduce with spores. They are everywhere at the botanical garden from smaller ground dwellers to the arboreal, tree-like, ferns. The Heliconias or birds of paradise, is another species demonstrating its wide variation, with 71 species are on display.
The main selling point of the garden is the Mariposario – or butterfly house. This net structure is built in the shape of a butterfly and is home to an array of surprisingly friendly butterflies. If you go slow and gentle, you can easily have one of the large Owl butterflies as your ride-along companion.
What makes this particular garden wonderful is its mix of accessibility and wildness. The paths are clear, but minimal, outlined with Guadua taken from the fallen stalks that decorate the forest. The local Guadua – a species of bamboo native to the region and the strongest in the world – has its complete life cycle on full display. With visible specimens ranging from young sprouts to full adulthood. Interestingly, The Guadua achieves its full high within the first 6 months of its life and can vary between 5 – 30 meters in height and a diameter between 2 -22 cm. As the the guadua reaches towards its full height, it sheds its a paper-like skin along the way. As they age, the stalks slant over and decompose creating a geometric pattern throughout the forest. The guadua also performs an amazing water purifying process. Each morning it absorbs water from its surroundings and then releases it purified and perfect that at dusk!
Other interesting spots adorn the park, such as the small, camouflaged bird-watching cabin; with simple seating and one-way glass, overlooking a beautiful garden where fresh fruits attract the colorful local birds. There is also a fun suspension bridge over a deep gully, a mini-maze and one of the region’s popular lookout towers.