3 hidden Zen gardens at special opening temple Oubaiin in Kyoto

3 hidden Zen gardens at special opening temple Oubaiin in Kyoto

I’m Nobu, I like traveling overseas and in Japan, visited 25 countries. I’ve got the license of the certificate English guide in Japan for 7 years.I show you hidden Japan which you have never seen and heard of!

A Hidden Temple in Kyoto

I went to a temple in Kyoto called Oubaiin.

The temple was having a special autumn opening.

Special opening

Special openings mean, for example, opening the Japanese garden to the public for a limited period of time in spring and autumn.

And they show gardens paintings, Buddhist statues, etc.

That are normally closed to the public.

Some places open their gardens to the public once every three years, or even once every 13 years.

Oubaiin temple


Oubaiin is one of the brunch temples in Daitokuji temple Kyoto.

It is located in the southern part of the Daitokuji temple grounds.

There is a moss garden called “Jikichutei” which is said to have been created by Sen no Rikyu the founder of the tea ceremony.

Also there is a dry landscape garden called “Hatotei ,” which was created during the late 16th century.

There is also the “Sakubutsutei,” a dry landscape garden created in modern times.

Visitors can enjoy multiple zen gardens.

The main hall, the Karamon gate, and the storehouse, all built during the late 16th century are nationally designated important cultural properties of Japan.

History of Oubaiin temple

The history of the temple dates back to 1562, in the middle of the Warring States Period.

Nobunaga Oda built here to mourn the death of his father, Nobuhide Oda, when he first entered Kyoto.

Nobunaga ordered Hideyoshi Toyotomi to build the “Oubaiin(Yellow Plum Hermitage)”.

At the Oubaiin temple, after passing through a beautiful moss garden and completing the reception desk, you will find the Koushunan tea house.

Koushunan tea house
Koushunan tea house

After passing through the beautiful moss garden, you will find the tea ceremony room, “Koushunan.”

There is also a waiting area and a tea ceremony room beyond, and the corridor leading to the “Sakuchutei” is a simple Sukiya-style building.

Sakuchutei garden

The Sakuchutei is a dry landscape garden with the scent of a tea garden with beautiful moss spreading all around the tea room “Ichiean”.

The garden is said to have been created by Sen no Rikyu , the founder of the tea ceremony when he was 62 years old.

Sakuchutei garden
Sakuchutei garden

It can be viewed from three sides.

The view from the Shoin “Jikyuken” is the best view point.

Beside the moss garden, there is a pond in the shape of Hideyoshi’s military flag “Sennari Gourd”.

Sennari gourd
Sennari Gourd pond

The Korean lantern that stands on the moss is said to have been brought back from Korea by Kiyomasa Kato, as was the Buddhist bell.

Korean lantern
Korean lantern

Jikyuken building

The building that overlooks the garden is a “Jikyuken” and built later than the garden, in 1652.

Jikyuken building
Jikyuken building

It was named after the Kanji character “Jikyu,” which was written in the calligraphy of Daitokushi, the founder of Daitokuji Temple.

The tea ceremony room “Sakumuken”, which was originally a separate tea ceremony room.

And it is said to have been created by Takeno Juoh, a teacher of Sen no Rikyu.

Hatotei garden

A stone garden viewed from the main hall.

Like the building, it has been created during the late 16th century.

The rectilinear design looks very modern.

There are two stones in the center and the flat stone on the left side is called “Hearing Stones”.

And they represent Monju Bosatsu (Manjusri), Fugen Bosatsu (Goddess of Mercy), and a practicing archer, respectively.

Kanzatei garden

Kanzatei garden
Kanzatei garden

This is a modern garden between the main hall and the storehouse.

Sakubutsutei garden

Sakubutsutei is a dry landscape garden that serves as the backyard of the main hall and the storeroom.

Sakubutsutei garden
Sakubutsutei garden

The white sand starting from the most northeastern part of the temple grounds continues to the back of Jikyuan.

And it is also follows to the “Kanzatei” garden.

Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Sen no Rikyu related temple!!

Nohunaga oda
Nobunaga Oda
Hideyoshi Toyotomi
Hideyoshi Toyotomi
Sen no rikyu
Sen no Rikyu

I didn’t know about this temple until now, but I was surprised to learn that it was associated with famous people from Japan’s Warring States period.

They are Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and Sen no Rikyu.

And each of the three gardens had its own character and was very nice.

The building is also wonderful, so if you are ever in Kyoto and it is open to the public, you should definitely come here.

There are special openings in the spring from March to May and in the fall from October to December.

Please check it out when you are in Kyoto.

I’m Nobu, one heart enjoy together!!!

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Enjoy Tokyo and Japan as locals do!

TOKYO travel TIPS is the site which offers local updated information of Tokyo and Japan. There are many traditional, modern culture , festivals and beautiful nature in Tokyo and Japan. We want to share with travel beginners and repeaters to Tokyo and Japan! Let’s enjoy as locals do!