Hogonin Temple, Tenryuji (宝厳院)

Hogonin Temple is a sub-temple of Tenryuji Temple. It is famous for its “Shishiku-no-niwa,” a circular landscape garden with Arashiyama in the background. It is arguably one of the most beautiful gardens in Kyoto. Hogonin Temple is usually closed to the public, but the garden is open to the public during the fall foliage season and the season of fresh greenery.

Zen Master Sasahiko Shuryo, a Zen monk who twice traveled to China during the Muromachi period (1336-1573), designed the “Shishiku-no-niwa”. The word “Shishiku” in the name directly translates to “lion’s howl”. This compares the Buddha’s preaching to the voice of a lion.

The Shishiku-no-niwa garden is also open to the public at night for a limited time. Visitors can enjoy the illuminated autumn leaves. Reservations are required for nighttime viewing.

Usually this temple is not open to the public except for the gardens. However, on special occasions tourists can view the sliding door paintings in the main hall. Please check the temple’s website for information on when they are open to the public.

Temple’s official WEB site

Nearby spots from Hogonin Temple

The entrance to Tenryuji Temple is only a few minutes’ walk away. The garden at Tenryuji Temple is also beautiful, so be sure to check it out. This pond garden is the largest, most elegant, and grandest of all the gardens attributed to Soseki Muso, and is one of the first special national scenic and historic sites in Japan.

Tenryuji Temple is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Another sub-temploe of Tenryuji, Kogenji Temple, can be visited at the same time. However, it is not as valuable as Hogonin.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is located near the north gate of Tenryuji Temple. It has been crowded with tourists recently, so early morning is the best time to take pictures of the Bamboo Forest.

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