Kyoto - Japan (Day 7 Part 2) - Chion-in (知恩院)

August 09, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Chion-in is one of those "WOW" places that goes way beyond your expectations when you see it in person. It is located right next to Maruyama Park. Sanmon Gate is Chionin's main entrance and it is simply amazing. It stands about 78 feet tall and about 164 feet wide and is all made out of wood. It was built in 1619 and is the largest surviving structure of its kind.

Sanmon Gate - Chionin (知恩院)Sanmon Gate - Chionin (知恩院)

Behind the gate are stone steps leading up to the temple grounds or you can go to the right and visit the garden. I could not resist those lovely stone stairs though so I decided to check out the temple grounds first. Sadly the main hall called Miedo Hall was under repair and was completely hidden from site but there were plenty of smaller buildings to see.

Tahōtō (多宝塔) at Chio-in, KyotoTahōtō (多宝塔) at Chio-in, Kyoto

Tahoto (Pagoda) was had a really interesting design and there were several other small buildings that really stood out as well though I was not able to find their specific names. The one pictured below is one of them. Maybe if someone knows they can contact me with it's name I would appreciate it. I loved the small pond in front of it.

I headed to the back of the complex and ended up getting lost and ended up in Maruyama park after some walking so I circled back through the Sanmon gate and this time turned into the garden.

Kannon BodhisattvaKannon Bodhisattva

It was still early in the morning maybe about 10:30 am and only a couple people were in the garden at that time. I felt lucky to have such a garden mostly to myself. I was able to really take my time and soak in the beauty of the ponds and trees as well as the amazing Zen rock garden at the lower portion of the garden.

Dry Garden at Chion-inDry Garden at Chion-in

I was glad I paid the garden fee to visit. This was not the largest temple garden I had visited but it was unique and beautiful. The Autumn leaves were just starting to turn. They were setting up some offerings in the center of the garden but I was not able to figure out the occasion and left before anything really got going.

To see more images of Chion-in please visit my Chion-in set: http://kfrates.zenfolio.com/p1029217235


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