Myoman-ji (妙満寺) is a surprisingly quiet temple complex located north of Kyoto. Hidden between two hills, few even know it's there, even if they visit the nearby and more famous Entsuu-ji (圓通寺). The temple history dates back to 1389, and the temple was destroyed by fire several times (1708, 1788, 1864), which may be a sign of bad luck but many other temples in Kyoto had a more tumultuous and fiery history. Myouman-ji also saw its size shrink after the war.
The temple has a couple of interesting features, the first of which is right at the gate, with its pond lying directly before it. Sounds trivial, but it's not that common. While the temple grounds before the main hall are majestic, the few sub-temples on the left have a very small footprint, and none of them seem to be open, even exceptionally. Not much to attract the tourist, you might think. Well, yes, except for the tower that you can't really miss. It was built recently in 1973, in a style close to Aztec or Mayan. Unique indeed. Bu the way the tower is named "Busshari Daito" (仏舎利大塔) which means "the Buddha's ashes big tower".
Another interesting place is the zen garden of the temple, called the "snow garden" (雪の庭). This garden was create by Matsunaga Teitoku, the same who made the "moon garden" (月の庭) of Kiyomizudera's Joju-in sub-temple. Contrary to what his name might suggest, the snow garden is not only beautiful during the 2-3 days of snow that Kyoto has each year.
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Nearby: Entsū-ji 圓通寺 (650m)
External links: Website, ウィキペディア, Kyoto Navi, Kyoto Design, 京都風光, Marutake, そうだ京都, Satellite view, Map
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 左京区, Sakyo-ku, 妙満寺, Myoman-ji, temple, 寺院, 仏閣