Daitokuji and Daisen-in temple, Kyoto (大徳寺と大仙院、京都)

Imperial messenger’s gate

Daitokuji temple in Kyoto was founded in 1319 by Daito-Kokushi and it is the head temple of Rinzai sect Daitokuji school.

This black gate (picture above) was originally used for Imperial messengers.


Sanmon gate

This red Sanmon gate was built in the late 16th century.

It carries a sad story about Sen-no-Rikyu, who exerted a great influence on Japanese aesthetic sense through the way of tea.

(‘Sanmon’ literally means ‘three gates’, gates to enlightnment.)


Chinese juniper tree

An outstanding Chinese juniper tree(イブキ)in front of the Buddha hall.

This tree is over 350 years old and has many props to support the weight of its long branches.


Chinese juniper tree (up close)


Chinese juniper tree(from under the tree)


Chinese juniper tree(in front of the Buddha hall)


Daisen-in temple

Daitokuji temple has 2 branch temples (2つの別院) and 22 subtemples (22の塔頭) in its large precinct.  

One of the 22subtemples of Daitokuji temple is called ‘Daisen-in temple‘, founded in 1509.

(Please note that photography is forbidden in Daisen-in temple)


It has old zen gardens, which are extremely clean and meticulously-maintained therefore they also look new somehow, which is miracle to me.


In addition, rocks, plants and gravels used to make this garden are so beautiful and all carry special, deep meanings.

If you are interested in such dry landscape gardens, I recommend you visit Daisen-in temple.