This is a very pretty little garden. We really enjoyed our walk around it in the cool shade of the trees. It amazed me to look up and see Kyoto Tower in the background when I was taking a photo of the little traditional styled bridge there. I some-how had lost sense of being in the city in 2009... You can see it reflected in the pond.
The garden is said to be built on the Heian era site of Prince Minamoto-no-Toru's palace in the late 9th century, and now belongs to the Higashi-Hongan-ji temple.
It was declared a National Historic Site in 1936.
It is open from 9am - 3.30 daily.
Admission is by donation.
Shosei-en was created in 1653 by a priest from Higashi Honganji Temple and belonged to the temple and was used as a detached residence. It was originally quite vast, extending all the way to the Kamo-gawa River. Today it is much smaller, but still remains quite sizable. The garden has a lot of trees, so it makes a nice visit in the autumn. There is also a nice pond and tea house where you can view some of the garden from.
While Kyoto is not really the best city to experience Japanese gardens, if you won't get the chance to visit some of the larger, more famous gardens, Shosei-en is convenient. It's a very pretty and peaceful oasis in a rather drab part of the city.
Entrance is 500 yen.