Established in 1372, Unryuu-in is a sub-temple of Senyu-ji. With the inevitable earthquakes and fires, the temple buildings only date back to 1639, but this is already old by Kyoto standards. It is one of those temple whose location is just hard enough to reach and its popularity just under the critical mass to protect it from hordes of tourists that inevitably invade the area in autumn. Another gem in the same category is Ruriko-in, but I digress...
The temple has two large halls, Ryugeden and Reimeiden, each one with its rather empty garden. The best, however, is the back garden and the three rooms that surround it. Turning left after the entrance hall leads to a first smaller room with a nice centred view on a unique lantern with only 3 small holes for the light to escape. Next to this room is a second larger expanse of tatami with a long bay window on the garden. Both rooms are good spots to enjoy classic Japanese architecture: tatami, shoji, tokonoma, etc... After the two rooms the path leads to the two halls.
The second part of the temple is reached by turning left after the entrance (or continuing straight is you're on your way back from the two previous rooms). After a right turn the narrow corridor reaches another room with a view on the garden. This room also features couple of windows, one round (the window of Enlightenment) and one square (the window of Desillusion). This may remind you Genko-an which is the best example of this type of window pair in Kyoto. Attached to the main room, a second smaller room has an interesting tokonoma featuring a moon-shaped cut-out. Few visitors see this detail: find it! :-)
Someone who likes ikebana lives in the temple, as the numerous arrangements found here and there attest. You will also find several paper lanterns along the path of visit, all of this contributing to the excellent atmosphere of this temple.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Raigō-in 来迎院 (200m), Goshanotaki Jinja 五社之瀧神社 (240m), Fushikura Daijin 伏倉大神 (250m), Imakumano Kannon-ji 今熊野観音寺 (280m), Sokushū-in 即宗院 (460m), Hōon-in 法音院 (500m), Ryōgin-an 龍吟庵 (520m), Kaizan-dō 開山堂 (600m), Tōfuku-ji 東福寺 (650m), Kōmyō-in 光明院 (690m),...
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Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 東山, Higashiyama, Senyu-ji, 泉涌寺, temple, 寺院, 仏閣, Unryu-in, 雲龍院