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Best Zen Garden Kyoto

author
Danielle Fletcher
• Wednesday, 28 October, 2020
• 9 min read

Kyoto is the spiritual center of Zen Buddhism in Japan, and it’s only fitting that some of Japan’s most sublime Zen gardens can be found here. The correct term is “Kansans” (dry landscape garden) and Kansans gardens can be found at temples of all Buddhist sects.

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Contents

However, Kansans are particularly common at Zen temples and Kyoto, which has an abundance of Zen temples, is naturally home to some of the finest examples in the land. As the name suggests, Kansans gardens are devoid of water.

Some Kansans might have bits of greenery or even trees, while others adhere to the strict compositional elements of only gravel and rocks. The real pleasure of gazing at a Kansans garden is like looking at clouds in the sky: you can let your imagination run wild and imagine all sorts of “meanings” and shapes.

Needless to say, if you love Japanese gardens, you’ll almost certainly love Kansans gardens, which in many ways epitomize the most appealing characteristics of Japanese aesthetics: simplicity, elegance and restraint. While it’s extremely hard for me to list my favorite Kansans gardens in Kyoto, I’m going to make a stab of it.

Oh, make no mistake, it’s sublime, but it’s also almost always crowded and this type of garden should be enjoyed in silence. Go first thing on a Monday morning and enjoy the quiet while it lasts.

Click a Kyoto District for detailed info on attractions, places to eat and accommodation With over 1600 temples, Kyoto has long been a favorite destination for anyone looking for a cultural experience when visiting Japan.

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If you are looking to find some peace and quiet during your trip (which is not so easy during Sakura season or Autumn), add these Japanese Zen temples and gardens to your Kyoto itinerary. Zen is a branch of Japanese Buddhism that originated in China and was introduced in Japan sometime in the eleventh century.

The Japanese rock garden or “dry landscape” garden, often called a zen garden, creates a miniature stylized landscape with carefully composed arrangements of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and uses gravel, smooth pebbles, or sand that is raked to represent ripples in water. A water feature where you cleanse your hands, this simple action helps clean both your body and mind before entering the temple.

Emoji is a temple of the Sinai Zen Sect, situated in northern Kyoto close to the Shugakuin Imperial Villa. A Buddha statue inside the Zen TempleEnkoji was founded in 1601 by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the shogun who brought about the Do Period (1603-1867).

You will find bamboo groves in Zen temples temple complex has a beautiful courtyard and a garden with a pond and many maple trees. There is a small patch of bamboo trees that you can walk through and be sure to climb up the hill behind the garden, from where a bird’s eye view of the temple and the city.

It was originally an estate of Oshawa Sumoto, a deputy of the shogun, and eventually became a temple after his death in 1473. It is often ranked first among Kyoto’s five great Zen temples and is also registered as a world heritage site.

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Tenryuji is the head temple of its own school within the Sinai Zen sect of Japanese Buddhism. The beautifully landscaped garden features a central pond surrounded by rocks, pine trees and the lushly forested Arashiyama mountains as a backdrop.

A huge pond that stands in the center acts as a giant reflecting pool mirroring the mountains and the surrounding trees. Constructed in 1202, Kenning is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto and has one of the best zen gardens in the city.

Kenning was founded by EISA (who was also known as Rosie), a Buddhist monk who introduced both Zen Buddhism and tea cultivation to Japan after returning from study trips to China. Don’t miss the dragon murals painted on the ceiling of the Dharma Hall which was commissioned in 2002 to commemorate the temple’s 800th anniversary.

Founded in 1606 by a widow to honor her late husband, the Bodies temple has beautiful gardens. These include a small zen garden, a pond and a wooden bridge, as well as a tea house and a bamboo grove.

The Nansen temple complex and grounds are located at the base of Kyoto’s forested Higashiosaka mountains. It is the head temple of one of the schools within the Sinai sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism and includes multiple subtemples.

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This Kansans masterpiece is often overlooked, the Zen garden shows the principles of shake (borrowed scenery), in this case, from the mountains behind the garden. The garden is said to have been designed as a two-dimensional picture, like a FSMA painting on the vertical wooden screen that often depicts landscape scenes and nature.

The temple richly adorned in gold leaf reflects beautifully in the water of Kyokochi, the mirror pond. The golden pagoda is said to house the sacred relics of the Buddha and the scenic Rokuon-ji garden is expansive and takes up 92,400 square meters of the temple grounds.

The central Kyoko-chi pond contains islands of various sizes including the famous rock formations, like these Katakana stones. If you want to appreciate ancient architecture, explore beautiful and natural surroundings, learn about the Japanese culture and Zen teachings, then truly a few of these temple visits are not to be missed.

Zen's gardens are usually small, surrounded by walls, and meant to be situated in direct sight of the monk’s residence. The purpose of zen gardens is to replicate the innermost essence of nature and to provide meditation about life’s existence and meaning.

It consists of 15 rocks carefully arranged on a patch of moss within the sea of gravel whose meaning and the designer’s motivation remains a mystery. And because Ryan is quite a popular spot, the garden could easily attract droves of local and foreign visitors alike.

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The Hobo Garden at Tofukuji boasts a breathtaking landscape designed in World War II by Signori Mira. The garden looks extremely stunning, especially in the fall foliage season, so it’s quite a famous spot for maple leaves viewing.

Inside the massive Moshing complex is the oldest and most famous sub-temple called Tiepin. On our Walking Tours you will learn about the Old and New Kyoto, tradition, religion, history, food, and culture.

In this article, you can learn about top 10 Zen gardens in Kyoto. The word Zen garden does not exist in Japanese language.

You can understand the meaning of “Kansans” with a short introduction of Japanese garden history. I’ll show you the best 10 Zen /Kansans gardens in Kyoto : Shinji, Ryan, Kosygin, Dieseling, Newton, Nansen, Tofukuji, Kenning, Moreno, and Tenure.

The term Zen garden sounds strange to us because Japanese language doesn’t have the word. Let us make it clear with an introduction to Japanese Kansans garden.

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Before the invasion of Kansans, water, usually pond or stream, was indispensable to Japanese garden. In ancient time, Japanese people adored nature.

Due to our traditional animism, water represented dignity and fertility of sea in garden. In Katakana period (1185 – 1333), EISA, the founder of Sinai school, introduced Zen to Japan from Son dynasty of China.

The word means “Solitude and poverty.” In this conception, things shall be simple to be prolific and profound. Typical Kansans garden has no waterfall or stream, only small sand pebbles make pond or sea instead.

A glimpse of small rocks reminds of islets on vast ocean… Lankan Joshua of garden sometimes it makes us wonder. “Lankan Joshua () is an art of ancient Chinese painting.

In this technique, artist depicts a part of subject to describe the whole. In addition to it, our point of view was on the verge of changing: People enjoyed strolling around in garden before the introduction of Kansans and when Zen gave birth to Kansans, garden became a thing to be enjoyed from a room in Hobo building adjacent to it.

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The garden in Tenryuji temple was a good example of an intermediate of Kansans and its ancestor: It has a pond and sand field. We can walk along the shore and admire a view of it in a room of Hobo.

In Katakana and Mariachi period, Zen and Sinai school Buddhism was so popular among Samurai and commoners that many Zen temples with Kansans garden was build. Toronto Natasha is a popular theme of Karesausui garden.

This article is the most precise information on the rock garden and Ryan temple. We also can find these signs in the garden ; The wall (), shrubs (), and Mt Via().

On 8th August in 1600, over 300 warriors of Tokugawa army made Septum in Sashimi castle. In the summer heat, their corpses had been on the floor for a month to make blood stain on it.

The floor was brought to some temples in Kyoto, including Shinji, to make ceilings of them for the purpose of praying for the peace of the souls of the Samurai. In addition to it, the most mysterious garden : Ryan temple was burnt out many times in its history.

kyoto zen garden japan mystical
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As far as I know, the oldest one is a guidebook of Kyoto named Mistake Mayo Due in 1780. The book has no reference to the garden because Ryan was famous for mandarin ducks in the pond before Queen Elizabeth ll visit.

For example, the garden of Origin temple means a Buddhist creed. It is commonly believed that it implies ancient Chinese anecdote called Toronto Natasha (A tiger mom crosses a river with her babies.).

This article is the most precise information on the rock garden and Ryan temple. No one tells the meaning of “The Rock Garden of Ryan in Kyoto precisely despite its fame.

13 Ryan Goryonoshita CHO, Skyward, Kyoto city, 616-8001 Phone 075-463-2216 Website Ryan official (English) Entrance fee: 500 yen Open hours: 8:00-17:00 Mira is famous for his technique of take advantage of moss in garden.

The mosses on the garden stands for calm sea shore against roaring ocean. Traditional Japanese house usually has sliding doors instead of walls.

zen kyoto garden preview
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