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Shisendo temple

Shisendo templeShisendo temple is a Buddhist temple of Soto school, one of three sects of Japanese Zen Buddhism, and is located about 3 km east-northeast of Shimogamo Shrine.

Shisendo is originally a villa built in 1641 by Jozan Ishikawa (1583-1672), a samurai and a literary man, for his retirement.
He was also a good designer of garden making, and he produced a villa with beautiful gardens on this hilly site.

He designed to enjoy the changing seasons.
Especially dwarf azeleas in late May and red maples in late November are very beautiful.

"Shishi-odoshi" (or "souzu") is an equipment set up in many Japanese garden, and it was invented by Jozan.
It is like a seesaw of bamboo.
Trickling water flows into the bamboo cylinder.
After it has been filled with enough water, it leans under the weight of water. Then all water spill out.
The empty bamboo cylinder returns again to the original position naturally. With its rebound, the bottom of the bamboo hits the stone on the ground.
The sound sometimes echoes in quiet garden.
Shishi-odoshi in Shisendo is famous.

"Shisen" means "masters of poem".
Jozan set up the portraits of historic excellent 36 Chinese poets drawn by Tan'yu Kano (1602-1674), a talented painter, in a room.

The entrance fee to this temple is 500 yen.

Shisendo official website

How to get to here

By route bus

  1. Get off at Ichijoji Sagarimatsucho stop of route bus.
    By the bus with route No. 5, about 37 minutes from Kyoto station.
    By the bus with route No. Kita-8, about 14 minutes from Kita-oji subway station.
  2. About 5 minutes walk from there.



Entrance of Shisendo
Walkway in Shisendo
Shoin in Shisendo
Portraits of Chinese poets
Dwarf azeleas in May
Photo by Kyoto Photo Gallery & Jazz World
Red maples in November
Photo by Kogashitsu-Kabegami
A room to enjoy the garden
Photo by Koto-Roman
Shishi-odoshi (Souzu)

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