A tranquil sub-temple of Kodai-ji has delightful collection of art treasures and fine Japanese dry gardens.
Entoku-in (圓徳院), located in Southern Higashiyama of Kyoto, the most popular sightseeing area, is a sub-temple of Kodai-ji Temple, which sits just up the hill across Nene-no-Michi path, named after Nene, the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) who unified Japan at the Warring State Period. She opened Kodai-ji Temple for enshrining Hideyoshi after his death. Entoku-in was founded in 1605. Entoku-in has two section joined by a small wooden passage. There is a narrow street underneath of the wooden passage. It is a nice promenade leading you to a few old back streets with old stone walls you can enjoy strolling.
Two beautiful dry stone gardens
The temple is well known for its two “karesansui”, dry stone gardens. The first section has the main hall and the dry garden, consists mostly of racked gravel grounds and rocks. This garden was brought from Fushimi castle. It is a famous garden in the Momoyama Period. Giant rocks you see here are just small parts of the rocks. Surprisingly, large parts of them are under ground. You can also see several beautiful paintings on sliding doors in the main hall. They are painted by Hasegawa Tohaku, who was a famous ink painter in the Edo Period, and designated as an Important Cultural Property.
Entoku-in is particularly beautiful with autumn colors.
The second section has a meditation hall with an another dry garden. This dry stone garden is representing the ocean. There are more moss carpet and trees that bloom in each season. It’s particularly beautiful with lush green leaves in summer and autumn foliage.
Access : 15-minute walk from Gion-Shijo station on the Keihan main line.
Bus from Kyoto station : Kyoto city Bus No. 206 to Higashiyama Yasui Bus Stop, 5-minute walk from there.
Hours : 9:00 to 17:30 (last entry 17:00)
Admission : 500 Yen
Combination ticket for 3 places (Kodai-ji, Sho Museum, and Entoku-in Temple) : 900 Yen