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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Chishakuin Temple


Screen at Chishakuin TempleOn a day of on-again off-again light showers, which were punctuated by blue skies, we set off from Gosho (the Imperial Palace in Kyoto) on our bikes, heading for Chishakuin Temple. The route is simple and scenic - and mostly flat.

You pedal east on Imadegawa Dori across the Kamogawa River, with Shimogamo Shrine on your left a bit to the north, and then turn right on Kawabata Dori heading south.
The river is on your right, and the center of the city lies a kilometer or so downriver in front of you.

At Nijo Dori, we turn left to take a pass through the torii gates near Heian Shrine and see the museums in Okazaki. From there we head across Sanjo Dori and up a short hill, passing Chionin Temple on the left. Several scenes from The Last Samurai were filmed here but we keep on pedaling.

Cutting through Maruyama Park with Yasaka Shrine to its right, we ride along Nene no Michi (Nene’s Path), which is one of the most beautiful streets in Kyoto. Before hitting Kiyomizu Temple and the hordes of tourists we head right and down to Higashioji Dori and then turn left heading south.

Chishakuin is on the east or left side of the street, just across from the Hyatt Hotel and near the Kyoto National Museum. All three are a short walk from Sanjusangendo.

Chishakuin Temple gardenThe temple was originally built in Wakayama and is known for its screen paintings and gardens. The former are done on panels and are thought to be the work of Hasegawa Tohaku and his son, Kyuzo.

About half of the original paintings are still in the Temple. “Pine Tree and Flowering Plants, “Cherry and Maple Trees, “Pine and Plum Trees” are stunning.

The gardens are based on a Mt. Rozan, in China, and are spectacular.

Listen to the recording in the Museum.

Green Leaf Festival (June 15)

June 15 marks the festival that celebrates the birth of Kukai, the founder. It is a fire festival that is well worth seeing.


Fee: 500 yen for adults (for the garden and museum) Hours: 9:00 am - 4:00pm.

Tel: 075 541-5361
Higashiyama-dori shichijo-sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto city.


From Kyoto Station, take bus 206 to “Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo-mae” stop. From Keihan Shichi-jo Station, it is a 10-minute walk.

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