Contrary to many temples in Kyoto, Shuon-an has always been located on the same grounds. However, the temple was originally named Myosho-ji (妙勝寺). After being destroyed during the war in 1331 it was left abandoned for many years until its ruins were restored in 1456 by Ikkyu Zenji, the sixth abbot of Daitoku-ji. That's when Shuon-an took its name. The importance of Ikkyu for this temple means that it's sometimes called Ikkyu-ji (一休寺).
Shuon-an has two main gardens. The first one surrounds the main hall (hondo - 本堂) and consists mostly of maple trees which make the temple a popular spot in autumn. Several humoristic small statues called warai-jizo (笑い地蔵) can be found in the woods between the hondo and the cemetery. The second garden is located in front of the largest building of this temple: the abbot's chamber (hojo - 方丈). The design is one of a classic karesansui rock garden. Another smaller moss-and-rock garden with a small stone pagoda is located around a back corner of the hojo. The hojo contains a statue of Ikkyu; the hair and moustache are made of hairs from Ikkyu-san himself. Ikkyu-san now rests in the mausoleum, a smaller building overlooking the Hojo garden. As Ikkyu was a imperial prince the mausoleum is under the jurisdiction of the Imperial Household Agency.
Shuon-an is located a bit far from other interesting spots, a 15~20 minutes walk from Shintanabe station (新田辺駅).
Recommended for: Access:
Nearest location: Enpuku-ji 円福寺 (6.2km)
External links: Website, ウィキペディア, Trip Advisor, 京都風光, そうだ京都, Satellite view, Map
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 南京都府, Southern Kyoto, 酬恩庵, Shuon-an, temple, 寺院, 仏閣