Zuiho-in (瑞峯院) is a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji, and one of the few to to open to the public year-round. The temple was founded in 1546 by a feudal lord as a family temple. As it was founded after the Onin war, many buildings in Zuiho-in are originals, including its main hall. A particularity of this temple is that its founder Otomo converted to Christianity and received the Christian name of Francisco. Shortly after Christianity was banned in Japan, and there were no teachings of the Christian faith in Zuiho-in.
The visit of Zuiho-in starts with its front garden. To reach the builds from the front gate one has to turn three times, a design that helps the visitor feeling a distance between the busy outside world and the quietness of the temple itself. Note the formal gate of the temple located at the end of the front garden. This classic feature in a zen garden only used in very, very special occasions. After entering the temple one reaches the main hall and, more importantly the main garden that lies in front of it.
The main garden is of the dry landscape type (karesansui - 枯山水), and was designed in 1960 by famous landscape artist Mirei Shigemori. It is thus much more recent that the main hall itself. The design of the garden has some unique features, most striking of which is the high profile of the sand raking that represents a rough sea. This raking pattern is unique, AFAIK. The tall and pointy stones also enhance the dynamic of the garden. In the back is a small stone bridge which has been placed low on the sand to give the impression that it is located much further. On the other side of the main hall is another garden called the "garden of the cross", after the pattern that the stones make on the sand. Clearly, the idea of a cross was inspired by Otomo's beliefs. In fact, under the stone lantern of this garden hides a small statue of the Virgin Mary!
As one expects from a temple of the Zen sect, Zuiho-in has a couple of tea rooms. They are sometimes used by the tea community of Kyoto for formal and informal events.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Kōrin-in 興臨院 (40m), Ryōgen-in 龍源院 (70m), Ōbai-in 黄梅院 (90m), Kōro-an Tea House 皐盧庵茶舗 (110m), Daikō-in 大光院 (140m), Gyokurin-in 玉林院 (200m), Kōtō-in 高桐院 (210m), Sōken-in 総見院 (260m), Takeisao-jinja 建勲神社 (410m), Imamiya-jinja 今宮神社 (470m),...
External links: ウィキペディア, Kyoto Navi, Trip Advisor, Kyoto Design, 京都風光, そうだ京都, Satellite view, Map
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 北区, Kita-ku, 大徳寺, Daitoku-ji, temple, 寺院, 仏閣, 瑞峯院, Zuiho-in