As you enter the tower-gate and go straight on the paved walkway edged with red soil, the lawned garden spreads out before you. Strolling around the grounds and enjoying calm and peaceful atmosphere, it seems like a Sunday walk in the park. A large maple tree and a tall lantern in front of the main hall stand as architectural accents.
Along gently sloping Takagamine Road, you will see a temple, called Genkouan. Passing through the front gate and walking along the stone-paved approach, a majestic dark tower-gate will welcome you. When standing in front of the gate, you may feel as if the two round white windows are gazing back at you.
Looking up, the line of the thousands of tiled roofs rises toward the sky.
Two well-known windows, one round and one square, called “the window of enlightenment” and “the window of illusion” are here. Sitting on the floor and admiring the scenery they frame will somehow bring you serenity.
Even the nameless windows will give you reasons to pause.
Cloud-shaped metal plates for telling the hour, and musical instruments for ceremonial use, are displayed in the corridor.
Stop to admire them in-depth, without rushing.
In the morning, the sunlight enters obliquely and the garden gradually brightens.Simply sit on the veranda, and take your time to appreciate this scenery.This experience is more than just a great luxury.
Since Genkouan is a famous for its beautiful colored leaves, it is crowded with thousands of tourists whenever the leaves turn red. A large maple tree stands as if leaning on the main hall, and the approach from the gate to the grounds and the courtyard are filled with colorful leaves in autumn. This temple also has well-known features, a round and square window, respectively called “the window of enlightenment” and “the window of illusion.” Viewing autumn leaves through both the shaped windows is one of the simple pleasures. I am very fond of the other nameless windows as well. When entering the main hall, I recommend that you pause in front of the other windows and appreciate them, refraining from going straight to the two famous windows. Another well-known feature is the “Bloody Ceiling.” When looking up at the ceiling in front of the Buddhist, you will find the imprints of hands and feet. The ceiling boards used to be part of the floorboards of the Kyoto Fushimi Momoyama castle. There, in 1600, Mototada Torii and their fellows (loyals of Ieyasu Tokugawa) were defeated by Mitsunari Ishida’s army and committed suicide with their swords. To console the spirits of these samurai, it is said that the blood-stained floorboards were brought for use as the ceiling. This is one of the impressive historical remains. The stone path from the front gate and the tower gate, leading to the main hall, is fascinating. In front of the tower gate, the approach surrounded by Japanese silver grasses has its own unique beauty. Beneath the fine Soto-sect style tower gate is the only area where red soil is used. This creates a beautiful contrast to the dark colored gate. On the other side of the gate, the different scenery spreads out—an expansive green lawn, uncommon in Zen temples. Continuing your walk along the pavement, you may feel a natural affinity as if you were taking an early morning stroll in the park.
- 〒603-8468 京都市北区鷹峯北鷹峯町47
- 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- 400 yen
- 3, Kitatakagamine-cho, Takagamine, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 603-8468
- Free parking
※Admission time is subject to change without notice. Please call us to confirm the latest information.