A Shrine, to offer the elegant atmosphere of the Heian aristocracy with its expanded beautiful garden.
Jonan-gu「城南宮」, which literally means ‘the shrine south of the capital’ is located in the south of Kyoto station.
The Shrine was built in 794 when the capital was established in Kyoto, to protect the capital and ensure the nation’s peace. The surrounding area of Jonan-gu became popular with the imperial family and aristocrats, and they built their villas around the Shrine. In 1086, retired Emperor Shirakawa built a superb villa that covered 2 square kiro-meters, encircling Jonan-gu, known as Jonan Rikyu or Toba Rikyu. After he began governing from the villa, it became the center of politics and culture, and the elegant Heian culture flourished with poetry-composition gatherings, sumptuous banquets, and pleasure boat cruises being held here.
The impressive tombs of Emperor Shirakawa and two other Emperors are nearby and can be seen on the way from Takeda station, if you take a walk. Unfortunately The Shrine has no historical buildings after being destroyed by fire. The current buildings are re-built with the elegant atmosphere of the ancient capital in the 1970’s. The expanded impressive Japanese garden is made at the same time.
Visitors can enjoy Jonan-gu’s beautiful garden with seasonal flowers all year round. The garden is actually consisted of 5 gardens. You can stroll along the path through 5 gardens, once you entered.
The first garden, called Haru no Yama garden, is particularly beautiful from the late FEB to the early MAR with150 weeping plum trees and 200 camellias on the moss garden.
The path leads into the next garden called Heisei garden, with a stream, pond and waterfalls.
After Heisei garden, You enter the another entrance across the road.
First one is the Muromachi garden with a teahouse where the shrine attendants conducting a tea ceremony.
The path leads you through the Momoyama garden and, the Jonan Rikyu garden where visitors can enjoy cherry blossom and azaleas.