It’s impossible for me to name my favourite Kyoto temple or garden. With 1600 temples in to visit in Kyoto it’s no surprise really, and it’ll take me many many years to visit them all.
There’s a popular walk Jim and I like to take when we’re in the northern higashiyama region. Starting from Keage station we take a walk up towards the Philosophers path, stopping at Nanzen-ji temple on route, admire the cherry blossoms blooming over the stream (most likely stopping for a cup of matcha on the way), visiting Honen-in temple (sometimes carrying on even further to to Ginkaku-ji if we have the energy), then turning back to meander back through the blossoms, ending with a stroll and tea ceremony at Shoren-in back by Keage station.
This year we decided to walk the same route (avoiding Nanzen-ji, purely because I couldn’t face the hoards of selfie sticks that day), and by chance stumbled across Konchi-in temple.
I happened to glance through a doorway on our walk and spotted a tiny section of a moss garden, and that was me sold. I dragged Jim straight in there at the entrance, and I’m so glad I did! Turns out (just like we usually did) most tourists rush right on past in favour of Nanzen-ji just round the corner, so Konchin-in is usually pretty quiet and tranquil. For anyone who’s read any of my other blog posts (or knows me in person), this suits me just fine, and for those of you who sometimes find large crowds a little overwhelming, it might just suit you too.
Konchin-in is a sub-temple of the Nanzen-ji temple complex, established sometime between the end of the 14th century and the 15th century by shogun Ashikaga Yoshimochi.
Although what originally drew me in (and what still stands as my favourite part of the garden) is the moss lined pathways, Konchi-in is mostly renowned for its landscape garden the main feature being the duo of crane and turtle island, arranged with rocks and shrubs. There’s also a beautiful rock garden to admire for those who can’t make it to Nanzen-ji.
Although not confirmed, it’s believed the garden was designed by the famous garden designer and tea master Kobori Enshu. You can even visit the tea room, Hasso -no-seki, although this is something we didn’t get round to doing – Maybe one day!
Visiting Konchi-In Temple
March – November: 08:30 – 17:00
December – February: 08:30 – 16:30
Entry costs: 400 yen
Address: 86-12 Fukuchi-cho, Nanzen-ji, Sakyo-ku
How to get there
Take the Tozai subway line to Keage station and walk around 5 minutes,