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Permission notes VIII


Obai-in is a subtemple of Daitoku-ji. It was founded in 1588 and its main hall with its fusuma paintings by Unkoku Togan (1547-1618) is a fine example of Momoyama architecture. The kare sansui garden in front of the main hall also has a strong appearance. Also within the precincts of Obai-in you find the tea pavilion Sakumuken. Rinzai Zen Buddhism.

Except for special openings during spring or autumn, Obai-in is not open to the general public. Application might be made on a return postcard.

Obai-in, Daitokuji-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku, 603 Kyoto

Tel.: (075) 492 4539
Fax: (075) 492 3210

Omote Senke *

Omote Senke came into being when the grandson of Sen Rikyu, Sen Sotan (1578-1658) divided the Sen family property into three, thereby establishing the three Sen schools of tea, Ura Senke, Omote Senke and Mushanokoji Senke.

The roji garden of Omote Senke is an outstanding experience, and within the precincts of Omote Senke is a wealth of tea rooms and sukiya structures central to the development of tea architecture, like Fushin-an and Zangetsu-tei.

Omote Senke is not open to the general public. Application must be made on a special sheet that can be acquired from the office of Omote Senke. Generally Omote Senke has one monthly day reserved for visitors, on the 22nd. But even when it showed up that we would not be in Kyoto on that particular date, they kindly found another day for us. For an architectural study tour I can deeply recommend a visit to Omote Senke. They took the time to guide us through several of the tea rooms of Omote Senke, we could enter the roji garden, and we were permitted to take photos. So all in all it was a profound experience of a living tea culture - one of our definite peak experiences. For students they took no charge.

Omote Senke, Ogawa-dori Teranouchi agaru, Kamigyo-ku, 602-0061 Kyoto

Tel.: (075) 432 2195
Fax: (075) 432 1111


Renge-ji *

Renge-ji was moved to its present site in 1662. It is a small temple with a pond garden surrounded by forest-like vegetation. A visit to Renge-ji itself not is indispensable. But sitting in its old shoin totally open to the pond garden, and experiencing how the heavy timber construction so to say divides inside and outside, makes it the perfect counterpart to the experiencing of lighter sukiya structures like Shugaku-in and Shisen-do. Tendai Buddhism.

Renge-ji is generally open to the public. Besides the main garden, the temple has a small river motif garden directly facing the mountain. The space opening to this garden is normally closed, but in case you order a cup of macha, it will be served in front of this garden.

Renge-ji, 1-Hachiman-cho, Kamitakano, Sakyo-ku, 606 Kyoto

Tel.: (075) 781 3494

Ryoan-ji *

Ryoan-ji was established in 1450 by Hosokawa Katsumoto and was transformed into a Zen temple at the time of his death. Ryoan-ji's kare sansui garden with its 15 stones in a 3-5-7 composition dating from around 1499 has become emblematic of the Muromachi Zen garden. Though, everything seems to indicate that the garden only got its present form after a reconstruction following a big fire in 1797. Surviving sources clearly indicate that the garden was divided into two by a roofed arrival corridor, and that there were 9 stones in the garden composition. And recent research seems to indicate that the ground level of the garden was increased some 80 centimetre during the 1797 reconstruction - and the stones therefore must have been moved. Rinzai Zen Buddhism.

Ryoan-ji is generally open to the public. It is included in most tourist bus tours, but early morning and during lunch time you can be lucky to experience it as a quiet Zen temple.

Ryoan-ji, 13 Goryoshita-cho, Ukyo-ku, 616 Kyoto

Tel.: (075) 463 2216
Fax: (075) 463 2218


Ryogen-in *

Ryogen-in is a subtemple of Daitoku-ji. It was established in 1502, and its Hojo or main abbot's hall dating from 1502 is the oldest surviving Muromachi period hojo structure. Ryogen-in has several interesting kare sansui gardens, some of them very small in scale. The North garden is ascribed to Sesshu (d.1525); the South Garden is a new design dating from 1974. Generally a good visit. Rinzai Zen Buddhism.

Conditions of visiting: Generally open to the public.

Ryogen-in, 82-1 Daitokuji-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku, 603 Kyoto

Tel.: (075) 491 7635


Ryoko-in is a subtemple of Daitoku-ji founded in 1606, and around 1628 Kobori Enshu (1579-1647) made the tea room Mittan here. Mittan has two tokonoma and a stage layout typically to Enshu, in which the daime mat from which the tea master prepares the tea and the tokonoma is situated side by side. Mittan exemplifies the process in which experiences from the small Momoyama tea rooms was transferred to larger shoin rooms, and this space is an important steppingstone in the development of the sukiya architecture. Rinzai Zen Buddhism.

Ryoko-in is not open to the general public. Permission may be asked for through return postcard, or even better through some kind of personal connection or institutional position (see comments in the general introductory part above).

Ryoko-in, Daitokuji-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku, 603 Kyoto

Tel.: (075) 491 0243


Ryogin-an is a subtemple of Tofuku-ji. The gardens around its Hojo wing are made by Mirei Shigemori around the middle of 20th century. These gardens may be perfectly alright on their own terms and the gardens of Ryogin-an belongs to the better of Shigemori's, but Modernist emptiness does not have same profound and undeniable power as the Muromachi Zen version of emptiness. Rinzai Zen Buddhism.

Ryogin-an is not generally open to the public. Special opening days may be found during the autumn season. Permission may be obtained through reply postcard.

Ryogin-an, Honmachi, 15-chome, Higashiyama-ku, 605 Kyoto

Tel.: (075) 561 0087 (Tofuku-ji Hojo)

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Continue to Kyoto, places to visit, S (9 af 11).