Gakubuchi no Niwa or Garden in a Picture Frame
Hosen-in Temple is located in rural Ohara which is north of downtown Kyoto. It’s famous for the garden in a picture frame like scenery. The garden is not only beautiful, but it is also the architecture of the temple that brings in people. The architecture is designed to show the beauty of the garden by strategically pacing the main beam, the threshold, and the pillars.
Entering and Relaxing Inside the Temple
The admission fee is 800 yen for adults, admissions includes Japanese matcha green tea and a traditional Japanese sweet. Enjoying green tea and a traditional Japanese sweet while sitting in a tatami room is one way to relax while in Kyoto. The main attractions are the 700 year old pine tree and the bamboo forest. Depending on the time of day the scenery changes so it’s interesting to view the temple at different times. Each seasons has something different to offer.
Chi Tenjou or Blood-stained ceiling
If you are not scared of blood, the ceiling in the main hall was built from planks used from the floor in Fushimi castle. In the castle, about 370 samurai warriors committed ritual suicide called seppuku (切腹). This action was taken when they would rather take their own life than become a prisoner of war, do something offensive, or brought shame to themselves. The ceiling is called Chi Tenjou (血天井). Chi means blood, and tenjou means ceiling in Japanese. Hosen-in Temple is one of the few temples that use blood stained planks as a way to honor samurai.
Crane & Turtle Garden
Near the garden, there is a building to relax along side of a small porcelain fireplace. Cranes and turtles are symbols for long life in Japan. Looking out from the small building, there is the Crane & Turtle garden (鶴亀庭園 Tsuru Kame Teien). The pond in the garden represents a crane spreading its wings and the small hill represents a turtle. A crane represents a life for 1000 year and a turtle represents a life for 10000 years. This garden was built in 2005.
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Address: 187, Ohara-Shorin-in-cho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Access: 10 minute walk from Ohara bus stop (Take bus No.17 or 18)
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
800 yen (Adults)
700 yen (Junior and High School Students)
600 yen (Elementary School Students)
Website: Hosen-in Temple (Japanese)