Kyoto has a tremendous amount of sightseeing spots. There are 17 different World Heritage Sites in and around Kyoto. And there are many other historically valuable and simply beautiful spots, such as Kiyomizudera Temple, Heian Jingu Shrine, Chionin Temple and so on. For more information, please check my Kyoto e-Guidebook.
However, there are also places which tourists are not as aware of as the spots mentioned above, but which are unquestionably worth visiting. Joseien Garden is one of them.
Joseien Garden is a beautiful traditional Japanese garden belonging to Higashi Honganji Temple. This garden is located outside the temple and can be reached by a five minute walk. This place was donated to the Higashi Honganji Temple’s twelfth head holy priest Kyoyo in 1641 by the third Edo Period Shogun, Iemitsu Tokugawa. Kyoyo used this spot as a retreat. Other holy priests from Higashi Honganji in later generations also lived here after they retired.
The garden itself employs the traditional “Chisenkaiyushiki” style, which means the garden features a path around a pond. A famous Confucian in the Edo Period called Raisanyo chose Joseien’s thirteen scenic spots, and this garden was specified as one of Japan’s beauty spots officially in 1936.
Because of its location, this is a perfect spot to visit in a scenario where there are a few hours to wait for the train at Kyoto Station.
7 minute walk from Kyoto Station.
500 yen or more donation per person is requested. With donation, a nice glossy photo book is provided (very high quality). Two options are available – a seasonal guide to flowers, or a list of the 13 scenic spots. (Only in Japanese)
9:00-16:00 (Last Entry 15:30)
Take a look at the following pictures.