Taizo-in was built in 1404, and is the oldest of the 40 or so sub-temples of Myoshin-ji. Tiazo-in has three interesting zen gardens, and being open year-round is also one of the most popular places in Myoshin-ji.
The first garden (元信の庭) to visit is located next to the abbot's quarters (Hojo - 方丈). It is a classic dry landscape garden ("karesansui" - 枯山水) made of various rocks, satsuki bushes, bamboo and white sand. A nice water basin ("tsukubai" - 蹲) is located near the edge of the hojo's terrace. To access the two other gardens, one must first pass through the temple's cemetery and follow a short narrow path between tall hedges. After a wooden gate, the second garden is organized around a large cherry tree that looms over the paths going on its left and right. To the right is a small stone garden made of black sand and slightly pink stones. The contrast of the back sand and the cherry petals in spring is beautiful. To the left of the cherry tree is another dry landscape garden, with white sand this time.
The paths around the cherry tree merge later, but it's worth trying both. The left one gives a nice view on the next and last garden, the yoko-en (余香苑). Designed in 1963, it is very different from the previous ones: built on a slope with a waterfall and a wide river, with large expanse of satsuki bushes and a small hut on top. The lower part of the garden is occupied by a pond and a rest area covered by a wisteria, or "fuji" (藤) in Japanese. This garden has many other interesting flowers; it is best visited in spring (for the rhododendrons) and autumn.
Before you leave the temple, look at the wall on the left of the ticket booth: four sets of old-style hats and rope sandals are hung there.
Recommended for: Access:
Nearby: Shōtaku-in 聖澤院 (120m), Ryōsen-an 龍泉庵 (150m), Kōbai-in 衡梅院 (170m), Tōkai-in 東海院 (170m), Shunkō-in 春光院 (240m), Daishin-in 大心院 (250m), Tokuun-in 徳雲院 (280m), Daihō-in 大法院 (280m), Rinshō-in 麟祥院 (290m), Tōrin-in 東林院 (320m),...
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Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 右京, Ukyo-ku, 妙心寺, temple, 寺院, 仏閣, Myoshin-ji, 退蔵院, Taizo-in, subtemple, 塔頭