Sennyu-ji Temple Gozasho Garden

  • AddressSennyujiyamanouchi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City
  • Style

    Pond garden

  • Outline of garden

    Address : Sennyujiyamanouchi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City

    Telephone : +81-(0)75-561-1551

    Period of garden construction : 1884

    Garden style : Pond garden

    Site area : About 730 m2

    Public openness : 9:00-16:30 (close 16:00 between December and February) *See temple's webpage for more details on special admission for Gozasho room


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    Sennyu-ji Temple is located at the foot of Mt. Tsukinowa in Kyoto's Higashiyama range. The original temple is said to have been constructed in the 9th century. The first founder monk Shunjo reconstructed and enlarged the major buildings of this temple between 1218 and 1226 through donations, and changed its name to Sennyu-ji Temple. Mainly during the Edo period, the mausolea of all the successive emperors and empresses were built in this temple, which led to it also being called "Mitera" (imperial temple). Accordingly, the temple became one of the prestigious temples of the imperial family.


    Photo-1. Reimei-den to house the Buddhist mortuary tablets of the successive emperors and empresses.JPG

    Photo-1. Reimei-den to house the Buddhist mortuary tablets of the successive emperors and empresses


    The basic layout of the temple buildings remains as it was when the temple was rebuilt in 1669. After that, however, the buildings burned down three times before the Meiji period (1868-1912), although the temple was restored on each such occasion.


    Walking up to the hill from Higashioji Street through the Daimon main gate, you come across the Gozasho room (Imperial Chamber) located at the rear of a line that contains the Butsuden Buddhist hall and the Shariden Reliquary hall. A pond garden was newly constructed, in 1884, on the south side of the Gozasho room and the Kaiedo hall after the former buildings were once lost by the fire of 1882.


    Photo-2. Gozasho Garden viewed from Gozasho room (right).JPG

    Photo-2. Gozasho Garden viewed from Gozasho room (right)


    The garden consists of a pond and a small mound as the background. The moss carpet spread over the whole garden contrasts with tall Japanese maple and pine trees, and shrubs such as Satsuki azalea (Rhododendron indicum), Japanese enkianthus (Enkianthus perulatus) and Umemodoki (Ilex serrata), all of which combine to create a calm atmosphere.


    Photo-3. Pond garden with moss carpet.JPG

    Photo-3. Pond garden with moss carpet


    Photo-4. Well-trimmed azaleas beside pond.JPG

    Photo-4. Well-trimmed azaleas beside pond


    There is a bronze water bowl featuring the inscription of the 10th year of Genroku in 1697 installed next to the edge of the Gozasho room. A yukimi lantern (a type of low stone lantern with a large flat roof and three or four legs) was moved from Kyoto Sento Imperial Palace and placed near the pond. The entire garden was also constructed using traditional techniques that represent the Edo period (1600-1868).


    Photo-5. Bronze water bowl.JPG

    Photo-5. Bronze water bowl


    Photo-6. Octagonal yukimi stone lantern.jpg

    Photo-6. Octagonal yukimi stone lantern


    Photo-7. Stone lantern and octagonal stone washbasin.JPG

    Photo-7. Stone lantern and octagonal stone washbasin


    Photo-8. Stepping stones in moss carpet.JPG

    Photo-8. Stepping stones in moss carpet


    In the fall, as the maple trees turn a bright red color, an atmosphere of calmness and brilliance descends on the garden, which is also appropriate for the imperial temple.


    Photo-9. Japanese maple trees in red color in the fall.JPG

    Photo-9. Japanese maple trees in red color in the fall



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