Date: 24th November 2017
It was a lovely and bright day, perfect for my last day in Kyoto for the Autumn 2017 trip. Thinking about it now, it was great that I had the chance to witness Kyoto in its autumn glory for an extended period of time since I will not be returning to this gorgeous city until after 2020.
Chion-in (知恩院) is the headquarter temple of the Jodo-shu school of Buddhism, a branch of Pure Land Buddhism founded by Honen. Lets explore this temple in another post and look at the beautiful Yuzen Garden first.
Yuzen Garden (友禅苑) is just right beside the majestic Sanmon Gate, and being a garden-lover, I could not help but to enter this garden first, before heading to the main Chion-in precincts. Do note that though the temple is free-admission, the gardens including Hojo Garden are paid-entries.
Yuzen Garden was designed in 1954 (thus relatively new) in commemoration of the 300th birthday of Miyazaki Yuzen, the founder of Yuzen dyeing method.
Upon entering the garden, you will first see a bronze statue of Kannon (Goddess of Mercy), sculpted by Takamura Koun (the sculptor famous for the Saigo Takamori statue in Ueno Park, Tokyo) around a pond. This is one of the two gardens in Yuzen Garden, the chisen-kaiyushiki-teien style garden, basically a hill and pond garden.
Next, to the west is a kare-sansui garden (dry landscape / rock garden), called the Rokuya-on Garden. Rokuya-on is the name of the deer park where Buddha first delivered his sermon.
In this garden, you will find a bronze statue of Miyazaki Yuzen overlooking the rock garden.
Autumn was more impressive at the back of Yuzen Garden, where you will find two tea houses, Karoku-an and Hakoju-an, both of which are associated to the Urasenke tea ceremony school (founded by Sen-no-Rikyu).
Admission fee: 300 yen
Opening hours: 09:00 – 16:15
Chion-in is an 800m, 10 minutes walk away from Higashiyama station on the Tozai subway line. A number of buses (201, 202, 203, 206) stops at Chion-in mae (知恩院前), 500m away from the temple. See here for a full list of buses. Nearby temples are Shoren-in (4 mins, 400m), Maruyama Park (3 mins, 300m), and Yasaka Shrine (6 mins, 500m).