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Jōshōkō-ji 常照皇寺

Jōshōkō-ji is a Rinzai school-affiliated Zen temple with a history dating back to the north-south period (1336-1392). Established by Emperor Kogon of the northern dynasty, the temple lies very socluded in a east-west valley far north of the capital Kyōto, a roughly one hour drive by car.

The grounds itself are entered by a long approach through the forest, from where you reach the main gate. To the right lies a small pond, to the center some stairs that served as the entrance for the Emperor. Ordinary folks follow a path left and reach the entrance to the main buildings. The hall next to the main garden is quite big, and the Hōjō garden itself - a wet landscape garden utilizing the hill in the back - quite distinctive. Further back lie a hall full with Buddhist sculptures, and in the front of the building, a very old and tall cherry tree.

The best season to visit this temple are obviously on a sunny day during Sakura season or a cloudy day in autumn, but rainy summer days as well as snow days may also make for some interesting photos.

Shinnyodo 2017.jpg

Winter at Jōshōkō-ji temple.

Winter / 冬
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