Nanzenji Temple, Kyoto

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  • Massive ceremonial gates !!!!
    Massive ceremonial gates !!!!
    by jlanza29
  • Beautiful rock garden inside the main building
    Beautiful rock garden inside the main...
    by jlanza29
  • Nanzenji Temple
    by jlanza29
  • jlanza29's Profile Photo

    One of many beautiful temples in Kyoto

    by jlanza29 Written May 2, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Massive ceremonial gates !!!!
    2 more images

    Standing in the foothills of the eastern hills, Nanzen-ji Temple is one of Kyoto's most important temples. Its massive front gate drives this point home yet the structures and gardens on the grounds contain much that is sublime and beautiful.

    It is the head temple of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, and although it was originally built as an Imperial villa in 1264, it is famous for its gardens. The dry landscape rock garden of the main hall and the moss and rock garden of the sub-temple Nanzen-in are gorgeously accented by the changing leaves of autumn. The temple also contains precious artifacts, most notably the sliding screens of the main hall which bear lavish paintings by artists of the 17th century Kano School.

    There are twelve sub-temples on the grounds, shade trees, and part of the Lake Biwa aqueduct which dates from 1890. The grounds stretch right to the base of the neighboring mountain and from there a trail leads a short way to ancient shrines secluded in stands of tall cedar trees. The American poet Gary Snyder underwent Zen training at Nanzen-ji Temple, and one of his poems graces a plaque in a sub-temple garden. A visit to Nanzen-ji Temple is one of the best ways to let your own spirit be touched by the sublime aesthetic of Japanese Zen, and to witness how this aesthetic can accommodate seemingly diverse elements, blending them into a unified whole.

    Admission price was 500 yens for the main building but free to walk around the grounds, spent about an hour here and saw everything !!!

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    Tenjuan Temple

    by Rabbityama Written Dec 1, 2011
    Lantern at Tenjuan Temple
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    Tenjuan is one of the subtemples of Nanzenji Temple. It was built in honor of the temple's founder, Daiminkokushi, after his death. The original subtemple was burned down and subsequent wars destroyed much of the area later on but the current temple was rebuilt in 1602.

    The temple has two nice gardens. The zen garden is made of stones with a walkway of moss and stone squares running down the center. This layout is a different design from most other zen gardens.

    The garden in the back encircles a pond. The garden is thought to date back to the original temple in 1337 but evidence of later alterrations are also present. The trees around the garden explode into color during the autumn season to make it quite beautiful.

    Entrance is 400 yen.

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  • SallyM's Profile Photo

    Nanzenji Temple

    by SallyM Updated May 2, 2011
    Sanmon gate, Nanzenji Temple
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    Nanzenji is the head temple of the Rinzaishi-Nanzenji Zen sect.

    Emperor Kameyama built a villa at his favourite beauty spot in 1264. In 1291 he became a monk-emperor, following the faith of priest Daiminkokushi, and donated the villa as a Zen temple. The original buildings were destroyed by fire several times in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The current buildings date from the Momoyama period (1570-1600).

    At the entrance is the huge two-storey Sanmon gate, built in 1626.

    Within the Hojo (abbot's quarters) is a famous Zen garden, consisting of stones and trees grouped together at one end of a large open space, to give the effect of natural scenery.

    In the temple grounds is a red-brick aqueduct, which was built in 1890 as part of a canal project to bring water and goods into the city from Shiga prefecture.

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  • bkoon's Profile Photo

    Nanzenji Temple

    by bkoon Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Parts of Nanzenji

    The Nanzenji Temple was very "spread out". There were many small shrines and places of interests where you can visit. At Nanzenji, I went to a small house (cannot remember the name now) and the tower gate of the Nanzenji. There was a bead jewellery exhibition and a zen garden. The place was rather normal after seeing so many "peculiar" ones.

    Extracted from web-link :
    Founded in 1291 on the site of retired emperor Kameyama's villa. Main temple of the Nanzenji School of the Rinzai sect. Although prospered in Muromachi period (1333-1568) the temple buildings were destroyed by fire during Onin Civil War and reconstructed by Ishin Souden who was refered to as 'the prime minister in monk robe'. The First Gate Imperial Envoy's Gate Main Gate (Important Cultural Property) Lecture Hall and abbot's quarters are laid out in a line surrounded by 12 subordinate temples . The abbot's quarters (National Treasure) are divided into larger part (Daihojo) and smaller part (Shohojo). It is said that Daihojo is the transfered part of the imperial palace building and Shohojo the part moved from Fushimijo Castle.
    Founded in 1291.

    NOTE :
    Nanzenji is also a good starting or end point for a walk along the Path of Philosophy to/from Ginkakuji.

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  • Rabbityama's Profile Photo

    Nanzenji Temple

    by Rabbityama Updated Sep 29, 2010
    Sanmon Gate of Nanzenji Temple
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    Nanzenji is considered to be the top Zen temple; it is the head of all Zen temples, placing it above the Five Great Zen Temples.

    Like all of the top Zen temples, the temple complex is large and has many subtemples. You can see the Gate (and go up inside for 500 yen) and peer inside the Hatto Hall to see the dragon painting on the ceiling for free. You can also see the aquaduct, which is quite large and impressive. It was built to carry water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto. You can walk up to see the water flowing on the top.

    The subtemples all have their own Zen gardens. The hojo (main hall) also has famous tiger fusuma. The subtemples are worth visiting, but each has its own entrance fee (from 300 to 500 yen each).

    There are many cherry blossoms within the temple grounds, so it's a great place to visit before or after walking the Philosopher's Path. It's also a good place to view leaves in the fall.

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  • xaver's Profile Photo

    Nanzenji

    by xaver Written Oct 11, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Nanzenji Temple
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    Nanzenji Temple is a former aristocratic retirement villa that was turned into a temple on the death of its owner.
    This palace was built by the emperor Kameyama during 1264, later, the emperor himself became a student of the zen master Kokushi and, in 1291 he dedicated the palace as a zen temple.
    It's opened from 8.40 untill 4.30 pm and the ticket price is 400 yen.

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  • bladedragon's Profile Photo

    Nanzen-ji

    by bladedragon Updated Jun 29, 2009

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    Nanzen-ji San-mon (Main gate)
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    Nanzen-ji had the title of "First Temple of The Land" and played a supervising role for Kyoto Gozan (Five Mountains).
    It is at the top and in a class of its own.

    Nanzenji is also a good starting or end point for a walk along the Path of Philosophy to/from Ginkakuji.

    Admission fee is ¥ 500 (Nanzenji), ¥ 500 (Sanmon), ¥ 300 (Nanzenin).

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  • yukisanto's Profile Photo

    nanzenji

    by yukisanto Written Feb 2, 2007

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    We didn't actually go into the temple, but just walked the grounds, admiring the architecture. by this time, we were having temple fatigue, so were more into scenery instead. Do you know that Kyoto pipes its water from Lake Biwa, and you can actually see the canal of water at nazenji grounds. It even has a signboard saying "No fishes allowed". lol

    you can walk to the philosopher's walk from here, and at the other end of philosopher's walk is ginkakuji.

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  • Ines28's Profile Photo

    Leaping Tiger Garden at Nanzenji

    by Ines28 Written Jul 17, 2005

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    Zen garden

    This garden in the Nanzenji Temple is a classic Zen garden worth a look. If you can, take some time, sit down and relax!
    While you are in the Hojo, yuo can enjoy a cup of tea while sitting on tatami and gazing at a small waterfall (Yen 400)

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    Nanzenji

    by Ines28 Written Jul 17, 2005

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    Aqueduct at Nanzenji

    Nanzenji was first built as an imperial villa in 1264, and became a temple in 1291. Its main building, the Seiryo-den, is famous for a beautiful rock garden and sliding doors (fusuma), which are decorated by paintings of the Kano School.
    The temple's large entrance gate, completed in 1628, is called Sanmon. Several subtemples and a water aqueduct, which is part of the Lake Biwa Canal dating from 1890, can be found in the vicinity of Nanzenji's main buildings.
    You should really take some time for this temple, the grounds are very expansive and the aqueduct, Zen garden and sliding doors make it a diverse sight.

    Open 8.40 am - 17 pm
    Entry: free (Yen 500 for the Hojo&Sanmon, Yen 300 for the Nanzen-in)

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  • vic&michael's Profile Photo

    Tenmangu-ji (shrine)

    by vic&michael Updated Mar 8, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Plum Blossoms at Tenmangu Shrine

    Too eager to wait till the Cherry Blossoms bloomed, we visited Tenmangu shrine which has 2000 Plum trees in full bloom (Mid Feb to Early March). It was a pink-and-white fairyland! (albeit amongst many other Japanese tourists and in Shinto Shrine gardens). So, don't be discouraged if you arrive in Japan a month too early for the cherry blossom viewing, you can still admire the plum blossoms and have a cup of hot Japanese (seaweed?) tea outside. The weather was pretty cold, but, the blossoms say that spring is on it's way! Check out more of my spring photos in the Travelogues!

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  • worldkiwi's Profile Photo

    Nanzen-ji Temple.

    by worldkiwi Written May 7, 2004

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    Nanzen-ji Temple.

    Nanzen-ji is a sprawling temple complex in the eastern hills of Kyoto. The size of some of the structures is amazing, especially the big archway.
    There are supposed to be some remarkable zen gardens here too.
    You can walk the Philospher's Path from this temple.
    You have to pay to enter various gardens of the temple complex.

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  • DirtyRudy's Profile Photo

    Biwa-ko Aqueduct

    by DirtyRudy Written Dec 22, 2003

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    Biwa-ko Aqueduct

    It seems a little out of place, but if you go to Nanzen-ji, you can see an aqueduct that was built in the 18th year of the Meiji era. I don't really know why it was built and why it was put in that particular place, but it's kinda cool.

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    Nanzen-ji

    by DirtyRudy Updated Jun 20, 2003

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    Gate at Nanzen-ji

    Nanzen-ji is one of the most famous Zen temples in the world. In 1290, Emporer Kameyama asked a monk, Fumon, to come to the temple to exorcise a ghost who was causing trouble on the grounds. Fumon, instead of saying incantations to drive the ghost away, simply sat and meditated, and the ghost came back no more. Fumon then later asked Emporer Kameyama, who became a Zen disciple, to include his palace as part of the temple, which is now the Nanzen-ji we know today.

    Even though there doesn't seem much to this temple, there is a definite mysterious air about it that's quite comforting. You can climb one of the largest gates in Japan and get a good view of the area. If you walk all the way to the back, there's also an aqueduct built in the early 1900's, and is oddly out of place. There's a nice garden in the back too!

    Admission to climb gate:
    Adults: 500 Yen

    Admission to garden:
    Adults: 300 Yen

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  • schmoopy's Profile Photo

    Nanzen-ji Temple

    by schmoopy Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Nanzen-ji is one of the head temples of the Rinzai Zen sect. The temple was actually a school (founded in 1291) for this particular Zen sect. The site itself offers many buildings to go through, dry gardens, and a bit of hiking around the area. What is the main feature here is the San-mon gate - it is gigantic and apparently is known as the gate that leads from nowhere to nowhere. Zen. Gotta love it.

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