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Shōden-ji is a Rinzai branch Zen temple located along the northern mountains of Kyoto, just at the foot of the “ship” — one of the fires lit up during O-Bon in August. It’s main garden is in karesansui-style, borrowing the landscape of Mt. Hiei against a white wall accompanied by some Rhododendron and a wheeping cherry tree.
Often described as peaceful, tranquil and quiet on Japanese social media, this temple is indeed a place to relax a bit — but I never experienced any quiet time at this temple at all. On all my visits so far, there have been 1–2 other photographers at the same time as mayelf. Due to the nature of the garden, it’s not easy not to be in the way of each other, which is why I find it hard to call Shōden-ji a tranquil place. Nevertheless, I understand the magic this temple possesses, as it is said that David Bowie, when visiting this temple back in the 1970s, was moved to tears by the beauty he saw.
As a photographer, I recommend taking an ultra-wide-angle lens with you. Other than that, I still struggle myself to find good weather for the temple. Light rain? Perhaps? I have to check out some day.

Admission: open year-round, special moon viewing opening in September
Nearby places of interest: Kamigamo Shrine (still quite a walk away)

Shinnyodo 2017.jpg

The garden that moved David Bowie to tears.

Spring 春
Summer 夏
Autumn 秋
Winter 冬
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