Shoren-in Temple Garden
- AddressAwataguchisanjobo-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City
Outline of garden
Address : Awataguchisanjobo-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City
Telephone : +81-(0)75-561-2345
Period of garden construction : The middle of the Edo period
Garden style : Pond garden
Site area : About 9,900 m2
Public openness : Open (Admission fee 500 yen)
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Shoren-in Temple (founded in 1144) belongs to the Tendai Shu (Sect) of Buddhism and is well known as one of the "Monzeki" temples where head priests were inaugurated from the imperial family.
The temple is located in the middle of Jingu-michi Street, which stretches from Heian-Jingu Shrine to Maruyama Park, and has a unique atmosphere with green space and traditional gates and walls. There are some large old camphor trees, designated a Natural Monument of Kyoto City, growing in front of the temple. Their majestic crowns provide cool air by creating shade for the road and temple during the summer.
Photo-1. Large old camphor trees growing in front of the Shoren-in Temple
Photo-2. Shoren-in Temple in full view
It is thought that the temple garden is attributed to three famous landscape artists from the past; Soami (?-1525 in the Muromachi period), KOBORI Enshu (1579-1647 in the Edo period), and OGAWA Jihei VII (1860-1933 in the Meiji period). The main garden with a pond at its center consists of the Kacho-den hall (guest house), Kogosho room (resident room), a corridor, and a round hill.
Photo-3. Main garden with a pond and a round hill
Photo-4. Kogosho room viewed from the hill side of the main garden
Photo-5. Kogosho room by the pond
The Kacho-den enjoys a good view of the tranquil garden. And a picturesque scene framed by the well-calculated layout of beams and columns and the height between the ceiling and the floor represents how the whole scenery was completed in harmony between building architecture and landscape design. This sophisticated idea is known as "Teioku-ichinyo," meaning that the garden and the house are in exquisite harmony in a landscape garden.
Photo-6. "Teioku-ichinyo" harmony between building architecture and landscape design in Kacho-den
The Kogosho is considered to be the high-grade building in the Shoren-in Temple; as such, it has the most delicate view unfolding before it. Since the garden incorporates ideal horizontal lines - a lying stone near the fall mouth, the line between the central island rock in the pond, and the rock used to resemble a port - plus the wide lawn area, it makes the garden look wider and more beautiful in contrast to the round-shaped hill. A row of components such as the bridge in front, the arranged stones, rocky island, and the half-hidden teahouse behind the hill create a deep view, despite the small space.
Photo-7. Pond garden viewed from the Kogosho room
Photo-8. The main part of the pond garden incorporating ideal horizontal lines
After passing the main garden, Kirishima garden is seen at the northeastern corner of the temple. The entire slope of a hill in this unique garden is covered by Kirishima azaleas in a variety of colors. Semi-naturally grown plants create a profound atmosphere, along with old stone lanterns and rocks, as if an ancient beautiful forest still exists there. In the spring and fall, Shoren-in Temple is open to the public at night with illuminations.
Photo-9. Garden path of Kirishima garden at the northeastern corner of the temple
Photo-10. Roji garden of Kobun-tei teahouse