This temple was constructed by the Tokugawa family's vassal Ishikawa Jozan after he entered the priesthood and began a reclusive life, during the Edo Period (1603-1868), however it is now a Zen temple for the Soto sect. It is sometimes called the Jozan-ji temple. Jozan was an expert writer but also a gardener and this villa was completed when he was 59 years old. In the house's main room you can see hanging, 37 portraits of Chinese poets that are said to have been done by Kano Tan'yu; the fact that this space is full of poets gave it its name "Shisendo" (Shisen means poet).
The formal name of Shisendo is Outotsuka, which is derived from the fact that it was built on uneven slopes. The fact that such a beautiful garden has been built on an uneven area is truly fantastic. In particular, during May the satsuki azaleas bloom and in November the fall foliage comes out, and the bumpy terrain creates shadows that bring out the beauty of the flowers. There's also a shishiodoshi in place (water filled tube that makes noise and empties when it fills) to scare away deer and hogs that might vandalize the garden. The quiet sound is very much in harmony with the garden. There is a bamboo forest from the entrance, and with the beautiful view from Shisendo, you can truly immerse yourself in the world of Zen.
Get off the Kyoto City Bus at Ichijoji Sagarimatsu-cho (一乗寺下り松町) and it's a 5 minute walk.
Image Gallery: Shisendo
27 Ichijoji Monguchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
|Phone / Fax||Phone: 075-781-2954 / Fax: 075-721-9450|
|Closed dates||Specific dates|
|Admission Fee||Pay admission: 500yen|
Spring (March - May)Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
|Recommended target||Family Couples Groups Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller|