Moss garden, at the Giouji (祇王寺) Temple in Kyoto

Gardens in Kyoto, Japan, are numerous. The photo above shows a part of the moss garden at  the temple Giouji (祇王寺), one of the many little know secrets of Kyoto...

Inner court garden, at the Sumiya (角屋) house in Kyoto

The Sumiya (角屋) house, in Kyoto, dates from 1641, and was originally a "pleasure house" of the Shimabara (嶋原) district when it was still in activity (until 1970; see the Wikipedia page). Today, this house is a museum that is definitely worth visiting, as much for its two gardens as for its architecture, murals and history.

View of the garden from inside the Unryu-in (雲龍院) temple

One particular thing about gardens in Kyoto is that they are best viewed from inside their attending houses or temples! Here is an example from the Unryū-in (雲竜院) temple, a sub-temple of the Sennyū-ji (泉涌寺).

Meticulous grooming of the garden at Nijō Castle (二条城)

The photo above, from the Nijō Castle (二条城) gardens, is a good example of the detailed care that gardeners give to Japanese gardens. In all the visites I have made to gardens in Kyoto, I have never seen gardeners use motor-based tools (e.g. lawn mowers, trimmers, etc.). 

One can find these manicured gardens at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, as well as at castles, private homes, and town parks. Some are very green and lush, whereas others are strictly organized and groomed. Some are rock gardens, and others are zen gardens. In any case, Japanese gardens are an art form that you should seek out if you are in Kyoto!

For more information, I recommend you visit Eden Walkers where you can find lots of info about Kyoto gardens!

More photos (click on them to view full screen)

Map of the photos above


You will find more photos of the gardens and temples mentioned above in the following galleries...