This is a large zen temple just south of Kyoto and not far from Tofukuji JR station and dates back to 1236 when it was founded by the Fujiwara clan. Easy to find by following the signs along the road once you leave the railway station. The Tsutenkyo Bridge is famous especially in autumn for the valley is full of maple trees and the bridge with the beautiful colours of autumn leaves is spectacular. This area you will have to pay to enter but your entry covers both the bridge and Kaisando Hall, which serves as a mausoleum of the temple's first head priest. The gardens here are have a stone path where you will see the two contrasting gardens. One garden is lush with a pond and plants, the other is a dry rock garden.There are quite a few buildings here and some parts of the temple grounds are free to enter. The Hondo or main hall is a recent reconstruction from 1934. The 22 metre tall Manmon Gate is the oldest Zen gate of it's kind and dates back to 1425. The Hojo or head priest's former living quarters is one area that is quite interesting. You have to pay to enter here too, but the rock gardens here are very unique as each garden has a different character. There are pebbles, large rocks, moss, trees and checkered garden plots. It wont take you hours to go through this temple and the buildings and gardens so it is a nice way to spend a half day out from Kyoto.
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