KYOTO Where magnificence is born

Shoden-ji Temple

Shoden-ji Temple is a small, quiet temple tucked away in the northern part of Kyoto, next to a small mountain. Its unique dry garden makes use of "borrowed scenery," in which the distant Mt. Hiei-zan serves as one of the garden's main elements, along with its beautifully-trimmed azalea bushes.

Like Genko-an Temple, the temple ceiling makes use of bloodstained floorboards from the dismantled Fushimi Castle, site of a long-ago mass suicide of soldiers defeated at the battle of Sekigahara. The battle, which took place in the year 1600, is considered to have cleared the path for the founding of the Tokugawa Shogunate. These days the temple is a tranquil place, suited to contemplation. It awakens only for the annual Gozan Fire Festival, in which massive Japanese characters (spelling out the phrase "Wonderful Buddhist Law") are set alight on five different mountains of Kyoto. Shoden-ji Temple is responsible for one such fire, on Nishigamo Funayama, a neighboring mountain.

* Address: 72 Kitachinjuan-cho Nishigamo Kita-ku, Kyoto

* Tel.: 075-491-3259

* Access: 15-minute walk from City Bus Stop Jinko-in-mae 

* Hours: 9:00-17:00

* Parking: 1microbus and 5cars

* Entrance Fee: Adults (300 yen) / Children (200 yen)

* Wheelchair Accessible: No

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