One of the subtemples of Nanzen-ji in Kyoto is the Tenjuan Temple whose main hall, gate and study hall are rebuilts from the early 17th century. While most buildings are over 400 years old, the temple itself is almost 700 years old since its foundation in the 14th century in honor of the founder of Nanzen-ji.

Tenjuan Temple is one of the subtemples of Nanzen-ji in Kyoto which is almost 700 years old.
Tenjuan Temple is one of the subtemples of Nanzen-ji in Kyoto which is almost 700 years old.

 

Tenjuan Gardens

Tenjuan temple is most known for its two beautiful gardens: the dry garden (or east garden) and the water garden (or “south garden”).

The dry garden is located to the east of the main hall. It has a footpath made of large square stones which is one of the few things that remained from the original temple. It was very relaxing sitting at the veranda of the hall facing the dry garden and just contemplate on its beauty and history. We went in summer but it is most charming in autumn where the maple trees are flaming in vibrant colors.

The dry garden at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto is located to the east of the main hall.
The dry garden at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto is located to the east of the main hall.
The footpath made of large square stones inside Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto is one of the few things that remained from the original temple.
The footpath made of large square stones inside Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto is one of the few things that remained from the original temple.

 

Immediately after where the dry garden ends is the water garden (or “south garden”). It has two waterfalls and two ponds with white stepping stones. Both ponds are inhabited by big kois. Some bamboo trees also line the background.

One of the waterfalls at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
One of the waterfalls at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
One of the two ponds at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto, Japan inhabited by big kois.
One of the two ponds at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto, Japan inhabited by big kois.
Stepping on the white stones in one of the ponds at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
Stepping on the white stones in one of the ponds at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
One of the koi ponds at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
One of the koi ponds at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
Stepping on the white stones in one of the ponds with bamboo trees visible in the background at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
Stepping on the white stones in one of the ponds with bamboo trees visible in the background at Tenjuan Temple in Kyoto, Japan.

 

I enjoyed the wet garden more than the dry garden but if we are to visit again in autumn, I will undoubtedly change my mind considering the colors will wondrously paint the landscape. That is if I am brave enough to huddle with the flood of tourist. How about you, what is your pick?

 

 

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