|Name||正伝寺 / Shoden-ji Temple|
|Adress||Nishigamokitachinjuancho72, Kita-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 603-8847|
Adult 400 yen
University 400 yen
High school 400 yen
Junior high school 300 yen
Elementary school 200 yen
Perched on the side of a hill in the north of Kyoto since 1282, Shoden-ji offers a unique perspective over Kyoto and Mt. Hiei. The classic karesansui (dry landscape) garden in front of its main hall is simply bordered by a white wall, a design similar to the much more famous Ryoan-ji.
The garden design does not involve rocks, however, but instead consists in three groups of nicely trimmer rhododendron bushes (satsuki to be precise).
A gate in the far right corner completes the scene. Outside the garden walls, on either side of the narrow valley, are tall pine trees and a cherry tree. The roof of a lower temple can also be seen with Mt. Hiei appearing in the distance; a classic case of “borrowed scenery”.
The satsuki bushes are arranged in 3-5-7 groups; these numbers may be related to the Shichi-go-san ritual of Shintoism. Satsuki bloom in late May, which is the best season to visit this temple. Autumn colours are present but limited, and you’ll be lucky to see the cherry tree blooming in spring.