There is probably a rule for Kyoto in autumn that next to every over-crowded, tourist-infested, oobatalion-policed temple lies a quiet and much more interesting place that is really worth it. Well, Ikkai-in is one of those.
The path in front of this temple is also the one that leads from the bus parking to Tofuku-ji, one of the famous points for autumn-colours-watching. Ikkai-in is also the temple right next to the infamous bridge-that-every-Japanese-must-see-once-in-his-life. And that means two things: one, no one will notice Ikkai-in, because it's not on the trip schedule of the tour operator and two, you will indeed hear the old guy with his megaphone shouting to "not stop on the bridge to take picture, but to take them while you move because it's too bloody crowded thank you". Anyway.
There's very little info on the web about Ikkai-in, and the documents I got there didn't mention anything. One thing is sure: it costs 1000 yen to get in (that's on the expensive side for a temple) and that deters many people from getting in. However, the 1000Y include a green tea, tea and sweet combination so it's not such a bad deal.
The garden that you will contemplate while sipping your tea has its own character and particularities. The most obvious of which is the central pine tree and its long lone branch supported by a couple of poles. This tree is the structuring element of the garden and can serve as a window for the other elements in the background: two stone lanterns, a red-leaved bush or two lost among the satsuki rhododendrons and, finally, a step stones path. Describing a garden is a bit boring, so you can have a look at the pictures instead. Hehehe...
The temple also has a small front garden with a nice tsukubai water basin and a few well tended bushes.
PS: In the (un?)likely event of a bus of tourists stopping at the temple when you are there, just wait for 15 minutes and they'll be gone. The average attention span of the tourist bus is shorter than that of the average internet addict. Great success!
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Reiun-in 霊雲院 (100m), Kaizan-dō 開山堂 (130m), Tentoku-in 天得院 (140m), Funda-in 芬陀院 (190m), Ryōgin-an 龍吟庵 (210m), Shōkō-in 盛光院 (250m), Shōrin-ji 勝林寺 (260m), Tōkō-ji 東光寺 (270m), Sokushū-in 即宗院 (270m), Kōmyō-in 光明院 (450m),...
External links: Website, 京都風光, そうだ京都, Satellite view, Map
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 東山, Higashiyama, Tofuku-ji, 東福寺, temple, 寺院, 仏閣, 一華院, Ikkai-in, subtemple, 塔頭