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Shisen-do Temple

Name 詩仙堂 / Shisen-do Temple
Adress Ichijoji Monguchicho27, Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 606-8154
Hours Open 9:00~17:00
Admission Adult   500 yen
University  500 yen
High school  400 yen
Junior high school  200 yen
Elementary school  200 yen

Shisen-dō (詩仙堂) is a Buddhist temple of the Sōtō Zen sect in Sakyō-ku, Kyoto, Japan. It is registered as a historic site of Japan. It stands on the grounds of its founder, the Edo period intellectual Ishikawa Jōzan (1583–1672), who established the temple in 1641.

A room in the main temple displays portraits of thirty-six Chinese poets. The selection of the poets was based on the opinion of Hayashi Razan. The portraits were executed by Kanō Tan’yū. This and some other parts of the building date to the time of Ishikawa Jōzan.

The temple’s gardens are considered masterworks of Japanese gardens. One of them includes a device called a sōzu, a type of shishi-odoshi designed to scare away wild animals such as deer by making a loud noise. Water trickles into a bamboo tube, and when it reaches a certain level, it upsets the balance of the tube. The tube tips over on a pivot, discharging the water, and turns upright, striking a rock and emitting a loud clapping noise. About this sound This link (help·info) plays a recording of the sōzu at Shisen-dō.


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