Autumn leaves in the Tenjyu-an in Kyoto: The sub temple of the Nanzen-ji Temple



The Nanzen-ji Temple(南禅寺) belongs to the Rinzai Sect(臨済宗) and it is the highest rank of Zen Buddhist temple in Japan. It was built in 1249 by the order of the Emperor Kameyama(亀山天皇). Later it was suffered from some fires and also was destroyed in the civil war in the 15th century, however it was rebuilt after the 17th century. Now it is designated as a National historic sites. It is refreshing to walk through under the fresh green leaves early in summer, and the temple is also famous for the autumn leaves. You can enjoy the autumn leaves at the level of your eyes and you can bask in red and orange.The Tenjyu-an(天授庵) is located in the precinct of the Nanzen-ji temple.

What to see in Nanzen-ji temple:

The Sanmon gate (三門)

Entering the entrance, the gigantic wooden gate will catch our eyes. It is the landmark of this temple, which was rebuilt in 1628. It is 22 meters high and it is overwhelmingly solemn. It is one of the three great gates in Japan.
We can go up to the observatory (500 yen). However the wooden stairs are very steep and scary, the beautiful scenery is waiting for you upstairs. We have a famous scene in Kabuki plays (歌舞伎, Japanese theater drama), which Ishikawa Goemon(石川五右衛門), the famous master thief (like Arsène Lupin in Europe), shouts “What’s a great view” at this gate.

the image courtesy of Daderot

The waterway bridge(水路閣)

Another landmark of Nanzen-ji Temple is the Waterway Bridge. This is a part of the canal called Sosui(疎水) which connected between Kyoto city and Lake Biwa, the biggest lake in Japan located in Shiga prefecture next to Kyoto.
It is the symbol of economic revival in Kyoto, because Kyoto city lost liveliness since after the Meiji restoration in 1868 when the capital was moved to Tokyo.


To bring the energy back by the active distribution by water, construction of the canal began in 1881 and also the water power plant was built in 1891. Shipping experienced the golden age in the early 20th century, however it disappeared in the middle of 20th century because of the remarkable development of the railway system.
Now the arch bridge of red bricks is standing quitely in the nostalgic atmosphere.

The Tenjyu-an(天授庵)

Entrance fee 400 yen


This temple was originally built by the order from the Emperor Kogen(光厳天皇)and later was rebuilt in 1602. It is famous for the screen paintings drawn by Hasegawa Tohaku(長谷川等伯) , a celebrated painter in the 17th century. All 32 screen paintings in main Hall are designated as national important cultural asset, but unfortunately they are not open to the public.
They have two different gardens; the east garden(東庭) in the main Hall(Hondo,本堂) and the south garden(南庭) in study or lecture hall (Shoin,書院).
The east garden is the dry garden(Karesansui-teien,枯山水庭園), we enjoy the garden from the building. The rhombus stones, which are edged with beautiful moss, are placed impressively on the white sand.
The south garden is the strolling garden with a pond (Chisen-Kaiyu-shiki-teien,池泉廻遊式庭園).
These gardens are very quiet, even though the Nanzen-ji Temple is crowded. You can enjoy peacefully the beautiful contrast of the red of autumn leaves, green of moss, and white of sand.

Other places to see:

The Nanzenji-temple is located in the Okazaki(岡崎) area, where many sightseeing places are located, such as the Eikando(永観堂), the Heian Shrine(平安神宮) and some museums.

The Eikan-do(永観堂)

It is the most famous temple for autumn leaves viewing. It is located just 300 meters away from the Nanzenji Temple. Many people visit this temple as well as the Nanzenji Temple. Entrance fee 600 yen

The Heian Shrine(平安神宮)

This shrine is famous for one of the biggest Torii gates in Japan. You can enjoy a gigantic vermillion red Torii gate on the way to the Shrine and also the ancient style of the building. Free entrance (600 yen for the garden)

An Ultimate Idea Source for Your Kyoto Stay!

Kyoto is an old capital of Japan and a cultural and historical mecca for everyone who visits this country. It is the most popular city among tourists and a must-see destination indeed. Kyoto boasts over 4000 historical places including shrines, temples, and attracts visitors with its charming atmosphere of an ancient city. This city is great for shopping, bicycling, hiking, museums, galleries, green spaces, and features many famous festivals. In the following article, you will find 100 things and many ideas on how to spend your time in Kyoto! Please, have a look, URL:

Don’t Miss the Popular Autumn Festivals and Events in Kyoto!

Kyoto is beautiful and sophisticated at any season. Autumn turns the old capital into warm orange, yellow, and crimson colors. Not only you will find the most outstanding and picturesque views with autumn leaves, but you will also experience various traditional ceremonies and take an active part in the city life. Come to Kyoto in Autumn, to pick the tea leaves,  feel Zen, and study its history through parades. For more information about the most popular events in Kyoto this year, please check the following article!


Find Out How to Enjoy Autumn in Japan!

Autumn is one of the most beautiful seasons in Japan. This is the season of Koyo or Momijigari. Momijigari is a tradition of admiring autumn landscape, very similar to Hanami – admiring cherry blossoms in spring. If you would like to know more about autumn foliage season around Japan and find out how to adore it in a traditional Japanese way, the following article will be helpful.


Pick the Best Autumn Foliage in Japan!

You probably know that autumn in Japan with its colorful leaves scenes is as prevalent among tourists and locals as spring with its cherry blossoms. Momiji or enjoying autumn leaves is an indispensable part of Japanese culture. I hope these articles raised your interest in Japanese autumn.
Check it out! URL:

Momiji in Osaka:

Autumn leaves in Tokyo:

Momiji in Fukuoka:

Would You Like to Know How to Enjoy a Japanese Festival Even More?

A lot of people when they get to a Matsuri for the first time feel a bit lost. They confuse about what is happening around. If you are new to Japanese Festivals or want to know an alternative way of how you can enjoy these events, the following article will provide you with a set of helpful tips on how to choose a proper festival and activities you should try there. Please don`t hesitate to take a look at it!


Did You Know That There is a Festival Every Day Somewhere in Japan?

Japan is a country of festivals indeed. Matsuri is an essential part of traditional Japanese culture. Thus, every day somewhere in Japan a festival takes place. There are traditional and modern festivals, on the sea and on the ground, in summer and winter. Japanese are hardworking people. However, when you attend at least one festival in Japan, you will understand how locals like to party. The article under the link below will introduce you to a celebration on any day of the year. I am sure you will find an event that suits your interests utmost!



I'm an English speaking tour guide in Kyoto. You can enjoy a variety of events in each region throughout a year. I hope to see you soon.

Written on

Other Events You May Like