Lighting up of the bamboo forest and the garden in blue to signify the blue image of the Buddhist god of fire (Blue Cetaka)
Shoren-in was built 850 years ago as a temple of the Tendai sect. In the Edo Era, the Imperial Palace had burned down and so the temple became the temporary palace, with many men in the Imperial family becoming chief priests so it became a temple with deepening connections with the Emperor. It has been said that the monk Shinran Shonin planted the now-800-year-old camphor trees which have become Natural Monuments in front of the gate. In the Kacho-den guesthouse, the Heian Era waka poems of the Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry decorate the room and you can see up to 60 paintings of lotus on the fusuma. From the Kacho-den, you can view two different gardens: the Garden of Kirishima with Kirishima azalea planted everywhere and the pond garden surrounding the Ryujin-no-ike pond, and in the tatami room, you can enjoy the scenery while quietly having some matcha tea. Also in the Kogosho, which served as the Emperor’s temporary palace, there are also fusuma paintings. In the corridor leading to the Kogosho, there is a huge natural rock washbasin (Ichimonji-Chozubachi) which was sent by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. In the main hall going to the back is enshrined the Shijoko Nyorai mandala, and in the largest building on the temple grounds (Shin-den), there is the restored copy of the painting of the Blue Cetaka. Next to the Shin-den is the Emperor’s official entrance, the Dai-Genkan, and there the Emperor’s palanquin is displayed. After viewing the buildings, you can enjoy walking in the garden around the pond. And you can do some night viewing during spring and fall as the garden and bamboo forest are lit up in blue LEDs to signify the image of the Blue Cetaka. Also, you can take a shuttle bus to Shogunzuka where the view of Kyoto from the observation platform is wonderful.