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Local news letter vol.7

Camellia that signals the visit of spring in Higashiyama

Akibasan Tokeiji Temple [Witten by Teruko Tokura

Akibasan Tokeiji Temple Akibasan Tokeiji Temple is located down south of the south gate of Yasaka shrine, on Shimokawaramachi street.
 From March to April, camellia blooms red and white flowers along the sides of the approach to the temple inside of the gate of Tokeiji, their peak in blooming is in the middle of March each year. These camellia trees had been taken good care by former chief priest, visitors will see his compassion for the trees in their splendid blooms.
 Tokeiji temple’s honorific mountain name is "Akibasan", it belongs to Soto Sect (Zen Sect), and housed "Akiba Sanjyakubo Daigongen" as its principal statue.
Akibasan Tokeiji Temple Tokeiji temple was originally founded in Rakuto Kamiokazaki village in Tenmei period (1781~1788), and was moved to the present location in 1860. However, it had been abandoned in a social turmoil in the end of Edo period. Later, the highest Buddhist priest, Bonjyotaizen the15th, of Tenneiji temple in Teranachigashira was hailed as the chief priest by local people to restore the ruined temple.
 A deity of fire "Akiba Sanjyakubo Daigongen" is believed to have supernatural powers to prevent fires and protect from burglar, many people come here to wish for the safety of their families from all over Japan. Each year on December 24th, local believers come to receive paper talismans for fire prevention.

Address 503 South of Gion-cho, Higashiyama ward
Telephone 075-561-5365 Fax             

Access ・5 min walk from Keihan Railway's Gion-Shijyo Station.
・Near from Kyoto City Bus’ "Gion" stop
・10 min walk from Hankyu Railway's Kawaramachi Station.
Hours Any time
Entrance Fee Free

Gesshinin Temple [Witten by Akemi Kumagai]

Gesshinin Temple Gesshinin temple is located along the road of Nene, west side of Kodaiji temple. It has a garden where grows a 600-year-old camellia tree. The tree is said to have been planted by Yulakusai, a brother of Nobunaga Oda. Thus, it is called "Yuraku camellia". This tree has been designated as a preserved tree by Kyoto city in 2003.
Gesshinin Temple Unfortunately, this temple is private, you can only take a look at the camellia over the wall. I could see buds appeared upper parts of the tree on my visit in the middle of February. That time the chief priest of Gesshoin told me that he has been worried to see the camellia tree has been getting visibly weak. I hope "Yuraku camellia" which has been familiar to people for more than 600 years, would keep blooming for ever after.

Address 528 Shimokawaramachi Higashiyama ward
Telephone                          Fax 075-533-4066

Access ・15 min walk from Keihan Railway's Gion-Shijyo Station
・20 min walk from Hankyu Railway's Kawaramachi Station.
Memo No entrance

Yogenin Temple [Written by Yasuyo Shimojyo]

Yogenin Temple Yogenin is a temple established by Yododono, concubine of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, for the memorial service for her father Nagamasa Asai. Later, fire burned the temple, and it was remodeled by using Fushimi Castles’ architectural remains. Since then, it dedicated to memorial tablets for successive Shoguns as a clan temple of the Tokugawa family.
Yogenin Temple The right and left walls and the ceiling on the corridor of the main hall are popularly known as the "blood ceiling". The main hall is also famous for the drawings on these traditional sliding doors and cedar doors painted by Sotatsu Tawaraya, and also the drawings on the traditional sliding doors painted by Sanraku Kano, which show us samples of Japanse Momoyama culture.
 The amazing garden of this temple also tells us the long history of Yogenin, where nearly 100 camellia trees are grown. They bloom from early to mid March, during this time, the blooming flowers vary from red, pinkish-red and white. Even fallen camellia flowers satisfy one’s eyes with its beauty.
 Besides camellia, visitors can enjoy weeping cherry and azalea blossoms in spring, maple trees with handsome foliage in the fall, nature here makes us feel the tide of the time and consider the importance of long history.

Name of place Momoyama Goten , Blood Ceiling,Sotatsudera Temple
Address 656 Sanjyusangendomawari-cho,Higashiyama ward
Telephone 075-561-3887   Fax             

Access ・7 min walk from Keihan Railway's Shichijyo Station
・5min walk from Kyoto City Bus’ MuseumSanjyusangendo mae
/ Higashiyama Shichijyo Stop
Wheel Chair Not approved
Hours 9:00 – 16:00
Time required for tour about 15 min.
Closed Year’s end, afternoon on 21st of January/ May / September
Admission Fee [Main Hall]
Adults 500 (400) yen
University students 500(400) yen
High School Students 500(400) yen
Junior high School Students 500(400) yen
Children 300(250) yen
*Prices shown in ( ) indicate group (more than 30 persons) discount tickets, or who has a school trip passport issued by Kyoto city tourist association.
Reservation Necessary for group participants

Shinzenkoji Temple [Witten by Tamiko Nakayama]

Shinzenkoji Temple Shinzenkoji is a small temple of Sennyuji ( the imperial family’s temple) located on foot of the Tukinowasan mountain which is one of the 36 mountains in Higashiyama.
 I started having a very close feeling toward Shinzenkoji temple, when my child entered the Senzan kindergarten which belongs to the temple. It has been more than 20 years now since my child’s graduation, we have held class reunions or calligraphy club meetings at its Shoin. Every time I visit here I could not help realizing the beauty of 500-year-old historical temple.
 What I’d like to introduce you in this news letter is camellia in the garden of this temple. As entering the gate, visitors will be welcomed by red and white camellia trees, which are blooming brilliant red flowers and immaculate white flowers. The tall tree in Shoin is a 500-year-old white camellia, grows one bud after another, its fallen flowers cover the ground just like snow. I think it is not very common to see camellia having grown this tall which makes people look up.
 Above all, I prefer the pink Yaetsubaki (Double-flowered camellia) at the entrance of Shoin, flowering with the adjacent petals overlapping one another, so pretty that even rose would pale before them.
 Although Shinzenkoji temple is private, please talk to the temple for entry permission, if you are interested.
 Visitors will be able to enjoy the mixture of the old and young energies, viewing camellia blossoms in historical old temple, while overhearing lively voices of kindergarten children.

Address 31 Sennyuji Yamanouchi-cho, Higashiyama ward
Telephone 075-561-5109 Fax             

Access ・5 min walk from JR / Keihan Railway’s "Tofukuji" Station
・3 min walk from Kyoto City bus’ "Sennyuji-michi" Stop

Unryuin Temple [Written by Masako Asano]

Unryuin Temple Unryuin is a branch temple of Sennyuji temple, widely known by one of the Seven Deities of Good Fortune, Daikokuten. Also, it has a history of 600 years for holding Syakyo school (copying Buddhist sutra), the oldest and only school in existence in Kyoto. I was very impressed to know its long history.
 Unryuin temple has "camellia wabisuke", which blooms white flowers from autumn Higan (the end of September) to spring Higan (the end of March). Camellia wabisuke is often arranged in tea ceremony, it is said that it is named after "Wabi" and "Suki" of the tea cult, or a man’s name who served Sen Soeki (Sen Rikyu).
 Here, you can also enjoy sasanqua, so that you could see the difference between camellia which flower fall as a complete flower from its neck, and sasanqua which flower fall separately as petals.
 At this Syakyo school, participants purify their hands by incense, and copy sutra with a brush and red sumi ink, after finishing Syakyo, they would enjoy viewing its Japanese garden over a bowl of powdered green tea "Matcha". I think this whole process of "admiring camellia after Syakyo practice", very attractive.

Name of Place Sennyuji Betsuin (branch temple)
Address 36 Sennyuji Yamanouchi-cho, Higashiyama ward
Telephone 075-541-3916 Fax 075-551-5776

Access ・25~30 min walk from JR / Keihan Railway’s "Tofukuji" Station
・15~20 min walk from Kyoto City bus (202,207,208) "Sennyuji" Stop
Wheel Chair Not approved
Hours 9:00 - 16:30
Time required for tour about 20 min.
Open 365 days a year
Admission Fee Adults 300 yen
University students 300 yen
High School Students 300 yen
Junior high School Students 300 yen
Children Free
Syakyo (Hannyashingyo sutra: 1500 yen per person,
including "Matcha"service / Cut-off time 15:30)
Reservation Only necessary for group participants by mail, telephone or fax
map Tokeiji Temple Gesshuin Temple Yogenin Temple Shinzenkoji Temple Unryuin Temple

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