Sesshuji temple has the beautiful dry gardens designed by the well known artist and the monk.
Not so much overlooked as unknown, Sesshuji 「雪舟寺」 -also known as Funda-in 「芬陀院」 – is lovely sub-temple of its sprawling neighbour Tufukuji. It has an intimate feel, more like you are visiting someone’s house than entering a place of religious observance.
There are two main reasons to visit this tiny temple. The first is that its main garden was designed by the well-known artist and monk Sesshu Toyo (1420-1506). Being an unfamiliar temple to most, the second reason is that you can sit on the wooden engawa (veranda) and observe one of the oldest dry gardens in Kyoto in relative peace. During my last one hour visit, only four Japanese visitors entered.
After enjoying the garden – perhaps with a cup of matcha – follow the engawa around and visit the tiny tea house with its lovely circular window. You’ll also find the second garden designed by Shigemori Mirei (1896-1975) who designed the Hojo gardens at Tofukuji.
Sesshuji is on the left of the small road opposite Tofukuji’s courtyard entrance.