Located on the road to the much more famous Yoshimine-dera (善峯寺), Jurin-ji is not exactly on the menu for most travellers. The temple was built in 850 to pray that the wife of Emperor Montoku bear a child, and if possible a male of course. This appeared to have worked and the temple became an "Imperial Oratory". Later, the temple became a family temple of the very powerful Fujiwara family. Like many other temples in Kyoto, Jurin-ji was partially destroyed during the Onin war. The current Hondo (main hall) was built in 1750.
Jurin-ji was also the last home for Ariwara Narihira, a poet of the Heian period. He liked burn specially prepared salt water to produce smoke of various colours. In the hill at the back of the temple are the remains of a salt burning furnace.
The temple has two small gardens, separated by the "bridge" between the main hall and the other buildings. The front garden is a simple pond with a stone bridge and a few assorted rocks. The "back" garden is more elaborate, and is representing the bottom of the sea. One distinctive feature is the circular and spiralling sand pyramid, but I forgot its meaning...
The temple is best visited in spring, when the old cherry blossom tree is blooming. This large tree is very old but is still producing amazing colours, which you won't see in the pictures below since I visited at the wrong time. Duh.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Sanko-ji 三鈷寺 (1.2km)
External links: 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, 西京, Nishikyo, 十輪寺, Jurin-ji, temple, 寺院, 仏閣