10.26.2018

The Autumn Foliage In and Around the Holy Grounds of Kyoto

Enjoying the autumn foliage in the tranquility of an ancient temple

  • The Autumn Foliage In and Around the Holy Grounds of Kyoto
  • The Autumn Foliage In and Around the Holy Grounds of Kyoto
  • The Autumn Foliage In and Around the Holy Grounds of Kyoto
  • The Autumn Foliage In and Around the Holy Grounds of Kyoto

One cannot really expect to enjoy the autumnal scenery in Kyoto away from the hordes of tourists. Still, the former Imperial capital of Japan is a trove of secluded gardens where the enchanting colours of momiji can be thoroughly appreciated in utter tranquility. Among them is the garden at Daikin-zan Hōgon-in, a subtemple of the Rinzai Zen head temple Tenryū-ji. It was built during the Muromachi period (1336-1573) with the support of the estate of Yoriyuki Hosokawa, a deputy of the Ashikaga shogunate.
 
The true gem of the temple is its landscape garden, first conceived by Sakugen Shūryō, a prominent Zen Buddhist priest who lived in the Muromachi period.  The garden incorporates the scenery of Arashiyama and is famous for its giant rocks, including one that is lion-shaped. It was featured in Miyako Rinsen Meisho Zue(“Illustrated Guide to the Famous Gardens and Sites of the Capital”) that was published during the Edo period (1603-1868).
 
The garden employs the natural beauty of the Arashiyama area, with moss, plants and rocks. Also known as the Lion’s Roar Garden, it contains a dry-stone structure, representing the Dragon Gate Falls on the upper Yellow River in China. A Chinese legend has it that a carp capable of swimming up these falls will transform into a dragon. In Zen Buddhism, the waterfall-climbing carp has come to symbolise a person attaining enlightenment and becoming a Buddha.
 
The train ride to Hōgon Temple on the Keihoku Electric Railroad Arashiyama Line will offer you further views of the spectacular autumn foliage.
 
At the peak of the leaf viewing season, the Lion’s Roar Garden will be open also in the evening, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, from November 9 to December 2, offering visitors a most rare opportunity to contemplate the overwhelming scenery of Arashiyama, in utter silence, a precious time away from the hustle and bustle of the city crowds.
 

Author : The Slowear Journal

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Kyoto  | temple  | foliage  |

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