Jikko-in is a unique temple because it's dedicated to music, more specifically Buddhist hymns called shomyo. While silence (or at least quietness) should be observed in most temple, it is OK to actually use some of the instruments on display (!). The sound they make is quite interesting and beautiful, with a touch of exoticism. If you visit there, try the set of bells on the black rack and the lithophone (like a xylophone but using stones!) The shomyo chants were imported from China and use to spread the message of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. They had a strong influence on traditional Japanese music in general.
More interestingly, the musical aspect is not the only reason to visit this temple: the garden is also very beautiful. The first part is the pond located next to the main hall (Kyakuden, rebuilt in 1921). It has a few remarkable features: a tsukubai basin (蹲), a water fall, a pond with beautiful koi carps and a tortoise-shaped-rock, a stone lantern and pagoda as well as the classic moss and other vegetation. A maple tree covers part of the pond, making this temple a nice spot to visit in autumn. There isn't many satsuki rhododendrons, however, so you don't need to rush here in early June. The garden was created in the late Edo period, in the chisen-kansho style (literally "pond-fountain-viewing"). The pond empties itself through a small stream that fills the lower, gourd-shaped pond that is the centre of the second and larger part of the garden. From the hall the mountains Konpira and Koshio can be seen, and are part of the garden design ("boorrowed landscape"). A nice tea house can also be found on the garden grounds.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Shōrin-in 勝林院 (80m), Hōsen-in 宝泉院 (100m), Sanzen-in 三千院 (120m), Keitoku-in 桂德院 (980m)
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, Ohara, 大原, Jikko-in, 実光院, temple, 寺院, 仏閣
id: 301, 68 photos (74 extra photos can be found in the archive).