The beauty of a Japanese painting
Founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339, Arashiyama, Togetsukyo Bridge and Kameyama Park among other places were within the temple grounds. Burned down by fire 8 times, the buildings were mostly re-built in around 1900. However, the Sogenchi Pond Garden has retained its original form from 700 years ago, and was given Japan’s first designation as a Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty. In 1994, it was registered as a World Cultural Property as a Historic Monument of Ancient Kyoto. For the strolling garden centering on Sogenchi Pond, it takes advantage of the natural landscapes of Arashiyama and Kameyama. Likening it to the tradition of the gateway to success, judging the Ryumon (gateway) waterfall where the large mountain rock fell from the rear of the pond, the Rigyo (carp fish) rock is placed on the side and shows its change into a dragon. With the wonderful cherry blossoms in spring and the changing leaves in fall, there is a beauty like a Japanese painting that never tires no matter how long you look at it. Another point of note is the lecture hall, Hatto, in which a dragon rising above the clouds had once been illustrated but due to severe damage, to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the founding of the temple, Unryu-zu was painted in 1997. Painted on the cypress board ceiling in ink, Unryu-zu, 9 meters in diameter, seems to glare at you no matter where you look and is truly spectacular. Except for special visits in spring and fall, the temple is only open to the public on weekends and holidays. In addition, every 2nd Sunday of the month from 9 a.m., anyone can participate in Zen meditation (training to focus the mind while sitting with your feet folded under you) for free at the Yuunan chamber. On the temple grounds, you can enjoy a vegetarian meal while viewing the garden at Shigetsu. Eating is also considered a part of training in Buddhism, and while vegetarian cuisine is a form of gourmet food, it is also a practice of a simple diet. Based on Buddhist teachings, animal ingredients are not used at all, and it is a cuisine that centers on vegetables and seaweed.