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Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

 

Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

The temple of the silver pavilion

Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

 

Kyoto is blessed with so many amazing monuments and temples that are part of the Unesco world heritage sites. Just as stunning are the many gardens that are either part of those complexes or they are stand alone locations worthy of a visit. Of the many zen and Japanese style gardens there are a few that really stand out in terms of beauty and historic importance. Most Zen gardens and other strolling gardens were used by monks for meditation and were created for quiet and meditation. Viewing the garden should be slow and thoughtful, reflecting on its shapes and colors and textures.

Following are the most famous of Japanese gardens in the Kyoto region

 

Ryoan-Ji

 

Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

 

Possibly the most well-known of zen gardens throughout the world is Ryoan-ji nestled in the along the quiet foothills in the northwest sectors in Kyoto. Ryoan-ji‘s name means ‘temple of the peaceful dragon.’The main temple grounds and zen gardens of Ryoan-ji are designated a UNESCO world heritage site. Ryoan-ji has 15 boulders all of different shapes within the zen garden and the gravelled areas are raked every day by monks to form their patterned effects. The grounds surrounding the temple are large for city standards and include a lake with various paths to walk through.

Even though the artistic garden of Ryoan-ji is open for interpretation, many theories about the garden persist including the rocks resembling islands and the ocean, peaks of mountains rising above the clouds to baby tigers playing and swimming. The compositions in the arrangements represent natural abstractions that hope to bring out a meditative mindset when sitting on the large veranda viewing the entire garden in one sitting.

 

Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

 

Within the temple grounds of Ryoan-ji is a large water garden and pond built-in the 12th century along with a tea house and adjoining garden built-in the 17th century. The tea house garden has a famous stone water basin that continually flows and is used as a ritual for purification and reminder of being humble in natures surroundings.

 

Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

Trails leading to Ryoan-Ji

 

Ginkaku-Ji

 

Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

Ginkaku-ji, the temple of the silver pavilion

 

The beautiful temple of the silver pavilion or Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto is zen garden with a two-story kannon-den (main temple) originally started in the late 14th century. Built initially as a place of rest and solitude for the shogun, the temple and grounds were converted to a buddhist temple at the shogun’s death. The famous sand garden at the main entrance is thought to symbolize Mt. Fuji and the garden landscape is supposedly designed by Saomi, a famous Japanese landscape designer.

I have recently posted on Ginkaku-ji temple, please visit this link for more information on this magnificent garden and temple.

Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

Black and white image of Ginkaku-Ji

 

Saihō-ji

 

The moss gardens at Saiho-ji

The moss gardens at Saiho-ji

 

The famous moss gardens of Saiho-ji in Kyoto which is also called “Koke-dera” or moss temple is part of the Historic monuments of ancient Kyoto.  The moss garden is mostly located in a circular promenade around a golden pond “Ongochi” that symbolizes the heart or mind. Surrounding the pond and three small islands are over 120 different varieties of moss that developed from an initial flooding to the grove and temple grounds during the Edo period.

The moss garden contains three tea houses, a main temple, study and three-story pagoda used to store copies of the sutras (manual on Buddhism). On the northern part of the temple grounds is a zen rock garden and temple known as Shito-an.

Due to limited access and advanced reservations prior to visiting, this garden and temple grounds are usually not on the mindset of most visitors interested in viewing an amazing assortment of gardens in one large complex.

Kinkaku-Ji, the golden temple

Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

Kinkaku-Ji, the Golden temple

 

 

The golden temple or Kinkaku-ji at Kyoto is famous for its three-story temple with gold leaf used to purify any negative thoughts around death. The beautiful strolling style garden around the temple borrows distant views from the mountains and surrounding landscape to make the grounds look more expansive. There is a large pond surrounding the temple with strategically placed rocks, bridges and plants to represent famous Chinese and Japanese literature and the perfect harmony of heaven and earth combined.

To see more images and  information, please check out my recent post here about this Unesco world heritage site.

 

Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

fall colors at Kinkaku-Ji

Nijo Castle

 

Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

Zen garden at Nijo Castle

 

The elaborate grounds of the Nijo castle contain a vast assortment of gardens surrounding the various palaces and temple grounds which were built for the personal residences of the Tokugawa shoguns in Kyoto. With over 275,000 square meters, the complex houses two large concentric wall fortifications, two palaces and extensive grounds and gardens.

The larger Ninomaru garden was designed by the landscape architect and tea master Kobori Enshu and has a large pond with three islands and carefully placed bonsai trees and large boulders in strategic locations.  Another large garden area is the Honmaru garden is located on the inner walled area of the Honmaru palace grounds. Although the palace is not open to the public the exterior of the palace and grounds are available to pass through with beautiful scenic vistas and the castle keep to see views of the entire palace grounds and central Kyoto.

To see more images of Nijo castle and the gardens, please check out this recent post I wrote about this historic site.

 

 

Nijo palace gardens

Nijo castle gardens

 

 

Nijo palace gardens

Nijo castle gardens

 

 

There are many more beautiful gardens surrounding Kyoto and part of many historic temples around the city. These are just some of the main gardens of interests that are part of more elaborate temples or are historic monuments on their own.  Thank you for visiting these Beautiful gardens of Kyoto today and if you enjoyed the post, please do share it with any of the social media buttons below.

 

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15 Responses to Beautiful gardens of Kyoto

  1. Cathy Sweeney November 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    Beautiful, Noel! All of the gardens look so lush and peaceful. I’m particularly taken with Kinkaku-Ji, the golden temple.

  2. Nancie November 23, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Lovely! Brings back great memories of my time in Kyoto.

  3. Mary {The World Is A Book} November 22, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Absolutely beautiful! Japanese gardens are my favorite. I do feel relaxed just looking at the these pictures. You’re making it harder for me to skip Kyoto on my next trip to Asia.

  4. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} November 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

    Just looking at your photos are making me feel Zen. We skipped some of these places on our Kyoto trip on account of my extremely un-Zenlike, noisy children, so I’m glad to at least enjoy them through you. We did make it to Kinkaku-ji, but the sky was cloudy, so the temple did not shine like it does in your picture.

  5. Sand In My Suitcase November 22, 2013 at 7:01 am #

    Beautiful gardens! They look so peaceful. (And beautiful photos…)

  6. Christine November 22, 2013 at 1:32 am #

    I love Japanese gardens. They are very relaxing. And your pictures look amazing!…Christine

  7. Leigh November 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    What a beautiful series of photographs. I am a gardener at heart and really appreciate the Japanese style of garden. Would love to visit in the height of cherry season one year.

  8. Heather November 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several of these gardens and am now longing to return! You really captured the peacefulness of each space. I remember gasping when I first saw the water lily pond in Ryoan-ji. Thanks for reminding me!

  9. InsideJourneys November 21, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    I’m sure being a tea master was a huge help to the architect.
    The gardens are really calming. You’ve captured that so well, Noel.

  10. Neva Fels November 21, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    Obviously it would be impossible to rush through this area. Your photos captured the beauty and most importantly, the peaceful scenes.

  11. Tonya {The Traveling Praters} November 21, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    The gardens are so beautiful, peaceful and serene…

  12. muzachan November 20, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

    So beautiful…

  13. Patti November 20, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    I love the 2nd photo of the raked sand and the last photo as well. They’re all beautiful but those 2 are my favorites.

  14. Cheryl Cholley November 20, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    How utterly peaceful. Even looking at the photos brings a quiet peace to the mind and soul. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Marilyn Armstrong November 20, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    Ooh aah sigh. So beautiful.

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