I will take you to the tour of two well-known temples and a quiet garden in Kyoto, all of which located within the radius of one kilometer from JR Ky...
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At your hotel
Nishi-Honganji temple, famous for its two gigantic ginkgo trees, together with the two magnificent structures.
Higashi-Honganji temple, famous for its two magnificent structures and the sample of hair rope.
Beautifully landscaped gardens in Shoseien garden.
At your hotel
I will take you to the tour of two well-known temples and a quiet garden in Kyoto, all of which located within the radius of one kilometer from JR Kyoto station and provided with the city bus services.
(1) Nishi-Honganji temple
Designated as the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1994, Nishi-Honganji Temple is the mother temple and headquarters of the Honganji faction of Jodo (Pure Land) Shinshu sect of Buddhism. The Jodo-Shinshu teaching was established by the Venerable "Shinran-shonin" (1173-1263) in the Kamakura period (1185 to 1333). He underwent austere training and hardships in various parts of the country before returning to Kyoto to complete his work, "Kyogyoshinsho", or The True teaching, Practice and Realization of the Pure Land Way on Buddhism. After his demise, his daughter erected a mausoleum at Higashiyama, Kyoto, which became the foundation of Nishi-Honganji Temple today. In the 16th century, it was moved to and re-established at the present location.
Followers of this sect, according to its doctrine, will be reborn in the Pure Land and attain Enlightenment. They will be able to live lives to the fullest, become aware of both potentials and limitations in this world, overcome difficulties and realize happiness within their lifetime.
There are many structures in the precincts, many of which have the status of National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of Japan. They are: " Amidado" (Hall of "Amida" Buddha, built in 1760), "Goeido" (Founder`s Hall, completed in 1636), "Karamon" Gate, Shoin Hall, "Hiunkaku" House (believed to be part of Jurakudai Palace built by a ruler of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi) and others. There is also a 400-year-old huge ginkgo tree called the "upside-down ginkgo tree", because it looks as if its roots were spread into the sky.
(2) Higashi-Honganji temple
Originally built in 1604 but most recently rebuilt in 1895, this temple is officially called "Shinshu-Honbyo", or The Principal Mausoleum of the True Pure Land Teaching, consisting of the two gigantic halls of "Goeido", or the Founder`s Hall and "Amidado", or Amida Buddha Hall. This temple belongs to the same faction as its counterpart, Nishi-Honganji temple, so the doctrine is basically the same. However, what makes this temple distinguishable are the historical relics preserved there: "kezuna" hair rope consisting of women`s hair and hemp tissues, a sample of a sledge used to transport huge pieces of timber and the diorama reproducing the scene of the avalanche. There are a total of 156 huge pillars whose diameter is some 60 centimeters made of zelkova tree in the two halls. Important Buddhist ceremonies are occasionally held here, attracting a large number of followers.
(3) Shoseien Garden
Located some 500 meters east of and belonging to Higashi-Honganji temple, Shoseien Garden has been the place for the retired head priests of the temple to spend their latter days since the middle of the 17th century. There are many gardens, tea houses, along with the two ponds, but the present buildings were rebuilt after the civil war of 1864. After the Meiji Restoration of Japan took place in 1868, many dignitaries, including the consuls of Qing dynasty, Italy and Russia, as well as
the Japanese nobles visited there. Even Japanese Emperor Meiji and Russian Crown Prince Nicholas Ⅱ spent some time there.
You can enjoy strolling along the paths in the perfectly landscaped garden while watching the trees and hearing birds sing. You can immerse yourself in the quiet and serene atmosphere somewhat different from that of temples.
guide fee, hotel pick-up in Kyoto city area
transportation fee (you and guide), lunch, dinner, entrance fee, hotel pick-up in areas outside Kyoto city
I can wait for you for up to half an hour for free. I will ask you, however, 1,000 yen per 30 minutes if you are late any further.
Bus fare is 230 yen from JR Kyoto station to Nishi-Honganji temple. You can walk to Higashi-Honganji temple from there. You can also walk to Shoseien Garden from Higashi-Honganji temple.
The admission fee for Shoseien garden is 500 yen. The other two temples, Nishii-Honganji temple and Higashi-Honganji temple charge you no fees. Small amount of donation is preferable, though.
The closing time for Higashi-Honganji temple and Nishi-Hongannji tempel is 17:00, while that of Shoseien Garden is 16:30. In the winter period (November to February), however, those places are closed an hour earlier, respectively.
I had a wonderful day with Tatsuhiro-san and so did my two friends! I would highly recommend Tatsuhiro-san for his interesting stories, kind nature and local insight. He organised a full day for us in Shiga prefecture, to see a local temple, the Hikone castle, lunch, and to see Lake Biwa. He was very flexible with our interests and needs throughout the day, and was great fun to talk to. On the rare occasion that we couldn't understand each other, we simply wrote it down and quickly worked it out. I enjoyed spending time with him and his tour was very informative and well tailored to our interests. He is the perfect thoughtful host!
Hi Shannon-san, Michael-san & Cameron-san, Thank you so much for your favorable comment on my work. I am really encouraged. I was happy to see your smiling faces at the end of day which was the greatest reward to me. I still regret, however, that I was unable to understand your remarks on a number of occasions on our tour. I will try even harder to improve my listening abilities. I wish you all a good luck and a fruitful new year. And many thanks for your souvenir. I find it very delicious. See you again. Regards, Tatsuhiro
He is the nicest person! We enjoyed him very much as someone who was able to navigate our total lack of Japanese.
Hi Ligia-san, Thank you very much for your favorable comment. I enjoyed your company and I am glad you have come to know some of the most popular sights in Kyoto. I hope you will enjoy your golden years more and more in greater health. Good luck. Regards, Tatsuhiro
A very friendly guide. He helped navigate us through Kyoto. Other people commented on his English, I think it was ok. No better than one could expect from a native citizen and local. I’d prefer this kind of person anyways since they know the “tricks”. He was kind to ensure he understood and verified your question’s answer.
Hi Sean-san & Kim-san, I am encouraged to have received a favorable comment like this. In fact, I felt sorry for asking you to repeat your questions on many occasions, but now I realize that`s the way you native speakers of English speak the language. Anyway, I am glad you completed the tour and saw for yourself some of the traditional beauties and cultures of our country. I hope to see you again. My love to all the people in the state of Connecticut. Regards, Tatushiro
We had a good time and a great tour with dear Tatsuhiro, he is a very good guide and we really enjoyed all the sights, thank your very much again Tatsuhiro
Hi Peter-san, Thank you very much for your favorable comment. I am really encouraged. I am glad that we completed the tour safely and that you kept smiling all the way. Also, it is a great relief for me that your were well in time for the ship`s departure. I wish you all a greater health. Many thanks. Regards, Tatsuhiro