Temple Gardens お寺の庭
As I mentioned previously, I stayed in Kyoto this trip, rather than Osaka as I usually do. Part of the reasoning behind that was because I had a few Japanese gardens that I hadn’t been to that I really wanted to check out. I revisited a couple, but it was the undiscovered (by me, at least) that I was really after. If you’ve never been to a Japanese garden, I highly recommend visiting if you get the chance. You don’t need to hop to every temple garden you come to, but there’s something incredibly soothing about spending some time in them (granted, they’re not overly tranquil when busloads of tour buses disgorge their cargo to disrupt the zen). There are a variety of different styles of Japanese garden and they all have their inherent charms. One of the amazing things to consider, is that many of them have been around for centuries!
Aside from Nanzen-ji, which I could see from my hotel room, Honen-in, Eikan-do, and the others along the Philosopher’s Path up to Ginkaku-ji, most of the gardens I planned to visit were a bit out of the way, but well worth the effort.
From Ichijo-ji station on the Eizan Electric Rail Line, you can wander through the countryside of north-east Kyoto. There are quite a number of temples/gardens around but given the distances between them, and since I was walking, I knew I would only get to a handful of them. The ones on my list were Shisen-do, Enkou-ji and Manshu-in Monzeki.
Arashiyama also has a plethora of temple gardens. The moss garden of Giou-ji was the one in particular that I wanted to get to. Most people interested in moss gardens in Kyoto typically want to get to Saihou-ji; problem being that you need to book, by mail, a spot in advance. At Giou-ji, walk through the fantastic scenery of western Arashiyama and you can just waltz through the gate. After paying your fee, of course.