Daitokuji Temple, Kyoto
Koto-in is a subtemple of Daitokuji Temple, and it's one of Kyoto's famous places to enjoy the autumn foliage! The walkway leading up to the temple is lined on both sides by deciduous trees and there are more inside the temple grounds. You can walk through the temple and then through parts of the garden, as well. The grave site along the pathway contains the grave of Izumo-no-Okuni, the man who is said to have founded kabuki theater.
On the side of the temple is a moss garden, which you can sit and appreciate.
Entrance is 400 yen.
Daisen-in is a subtemple of Daitokuji Temple, located within the Daitokuji Temple Complex. It is known for its Zen rock garden, constructed in the Muromachi Period. The Zen garden here is an excellent example of creating natural scenery through the rocks. The larger rocks represent mountains, while the white sand represents a flowing river. This image of nature is very easy to see at Daisen-in; It really looks like a river with mountains in the background!
Daisen-in is also known for it's well-trained pine tree, which has a very interesting shape.
Another reason to visit Daisen-in is to taste the delicious cinnamon sweets! The temple makes its own special bite size snack that is not sold anywhere else, and it's well worth the money to purchase it! Even if you don't enter the temple, you can come and purchase the sweets!
Daitokuji Temple is one of Kyoto's large Zen temple complexes. It was also designated as one of the top five Zen temples at one time. Sections of the complex were destroyed during the Onin Wars in the 15th century but were rebuilt soon after.
Although most people come to visit the subtemples (which I've written about in separate tips), there are some nice sites on the temple grounds that can be viewed for free. The gates and other structures are visible, and some of the buildings and subtemples are open and free to see. There are also teahouses. The temple complex is quite large, so it's nice to walk around and view all of the buildings.
This garden was made about 490 years ago (1509A.D) by Kogaku-Zenji when he founded the temple. As one of the most famous Zen abbots, he intended to express here the Spirit of Zen through the media of only rocks and sand.
Since ancient times, the Japanes have loved Nature profoundly and desired to live according to Nature. But in such a norrow space (about 100sqm) it was impossible to realize Nature in datails. However Kogaku-Zenji was able to express the abstracted essence of Nature by means of rocks and sand. If you look at this garden after seeing the landscape painted by Soami on the sliding doors, you may also find out that such a type of garden is nothing but three-dimensional reproduction of monochrome landscape paintings.
Daitoku Ji is a big temple complex with the famous Daisen In Zen-garden. A garden made out of stone.
When we were there a monk explained the meaning of the garden to us. After that he try to sell something to us and to get our attention he started to sing our national anthem. A great job, considering he didn´t speak dutch, but sang the anthem without any faults....
If you would like to be served green tea while looking at the Rock Garden of Daisen-In Temple, please try to say "O-chao kudasai" and you will have another unforgettable memory.