Thursday, 1 December 2016

Kare Sansui and Maple leaves at Tofukuji, Kyoto

Tofukuji Kyoto
Travelling and exploring places on your own is nerve wracking, but it can be so cool. You can go to wherever you like without anyone complaining, and sometimes you get to experience things that you wouldn't have got the chance to otherwise. There were so many places in Kyoto that I was desperate to explore, so one hot summer Saturday in June I took myself off exploring. First up on my agenda was Tofukuji. It's famous for it's autumn leaves, but there's a tonne to do in any season~ Like Toji, I think Tofukuji is a little less well known among international tourists, and certainly it was less busy than super famous places like Fushimi Inari Taisha, Kinkakuji or Kiyomizudera.

I got there by taking the Hankyu to Karasuma, and then the Keihan line to Tofukuji, but you can also get there on the JR Nara Line.
Kyoto Side Street

Kamogawa Kyoto
The walk up to Tofukuji was so pretty- it's in an area with loads of other temples.


Tofukuji is famous for it's autumn leaves, but I think the green maple leaves are just as pretty to be honest. I'd love to come back here in the autumn though. Tofukuji has actually got a few different sub-temples on site (and although it's free to get into Tofukuji, you have to pay separately to get into the Hojo and the Tsutenkyo bridge, but it's totally worth it in my opinion).

Tsutenkyo Bridge Tofukuji

The Tsutenkyo bridge surrounded by maple leaves is 'the' view to get in Tofukuji.
Tsutenkyo Bridge Tofukuji

The temple grounds at Tofukuji are pretty large, and there are a lot of tall impressive buildings. 
Tofukuji Kyoto

Tofukuji Kyoto

Tofukuji Kyoto

Tofukuji Kyoto
The rock gardens in the Hojo are pretty famous- and very aesthetically pleasing. *insert Zen musings here...*
Although I'm in no form a Zen Buddhist, Kare Sansui gardens are so cool to look at, and I think it's interesting trying to get some meaning out of the bare gravel and stones.
Kare Sansui Tofukuji

Tofukuji Kare Sansui Zen Garden

Tofukuji Kare Sansui Zen Garden

Tofukuji Kare Sansui Zen Garden

Tofukuji Hojo

Tofukuji Kare Sansui Zen Garden

Tofukuji Garden Kyoto


Tofukuji Garden Kyoto




After the Hojo, I really wanted to go and see one sub temple called Ryogin-an (the rock garden is more contemporary and is shaped like gorgeous clouds (so Instagram worthy, sob) but apparently it is only open to the public a couple of days a year (!) Next time...



I then paid to walk on the Tsutenkyo bridge and up to the Kaisando Hall, which was about 400 yen. The area around the bridge was so lush and green, and it was great to escape the summer sun.

Tofukuji Tsutenkyo






Some out of season momiji! Red momiji is so pretty, but personally I think the fresh green of the new leaves is even nicer.


The garden of the Kaisando Hall was really interesting: half of it was really lush and green, and half was just bare sand.
Tofukuji Kaisando Zen garden

Tofukuji Kaisando Zen garden

Tofukuji Kaisando Zen garden

Tofukuji Kaisando Zen garden

Tofukuji Tsutenkyo

The Sanmon Gate is also really impressive, and it's in the bit of the grounds you can access for free:
Tofukuji Sanmon Gate

There was also a small Inari Shrine on the temple grounds:
Inari Shrine Tofukuji

Tofukuji Sanmon Gate

Tofukuji Sanmon Gate




After that it was on to the next temple I wanted to visit: Unryuu-in and Sennyu-ji. On the way there I found an abandoned Inari Shrine, so that will be the next Japan post :)
Lastly, if you're in the Kyoto area, don't miss out Tofukuji- it's so gorgeous!
Thanks for reading! -Amy xoxo

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