Immersed in Beauty of Quiet Ancient City


Kyoto, an ancient Japanese capital, is a place where visitors can recognize traditional aesthetic values distinctive to Japan. Every place offers different taste and stunning elegance each season. Tenjuan Temple is one of the best spots that attract many visitors with its unique features.
Tenjuan Temple was built as a small subtemple of Nanzenji Temple, the head temple of one of Japanese Zen Buddhism sects. After its founding, the building suffered from a conflagration of Nanzenji Temple and the civil wars of the late Muromachi Period (1333-1573), and remained as they were when they were destroyed for more than a hundred years until it was rebuilt in 1602. In Kyoto a number of small subtemples, called Tacchu, were built in memory of the founders of Zen Buddhist temples and for its high-ranking masters. Tehjuan was dedicated to Zen master Mukan Fumon, the founder of Nanzenji Temple and regarded as the most venerable temple in the Nanzenji Temple precincts.
Tenjuan Temple was constructed with the main hall and Kuri, the kitchen of a Zen monastery, at its center. And the two buildings are surrounded by Karesan-sui, a rock garden, and a pond garden. Much of the construction has not changed since the time of the founding (except some renovation work in the Meiji Era (1868-1912)) and, even today, conveys the distinctive features of the Namboku-cho Era (1334-1392).

The rock garden expands on the east side of the main hall. With the perfect contrast of green pine trees and while sand, the garden is particularly attractive in autumn with colorful leaves.

The pond garden from the north side of the main hall is illuminated after dark, creating a magical atmosphere throughout.
Like the Golden Pavilion, Kinkakuji Temple, as well as Kiyomizu Temple, Nanzenji-temple and its surroundings are popular sightseeing spots among people at home and abroad. But Temjyuan Temple is still an unfamiliar place for many people, which makes it all the more attractive.
Past the main gate is the Kuri kitchen hall, which is not to open to the public, but visitors can take a glimpse of its garden across the dark hall. It’s a view of trees swaying in the wind with their leaves―some boast of its green, others taking on a red expression―while catching the soft sunlight. The scenery is a “natural” folded screen that expands deep inside the dark hall and keeps changing as time goes by. Retreated away from the hustle and bustle of the city, visitors can enjoy the time that is slowly passing in a totally quiet atmosphere.
On the east side of the Kuri kitchen, the main hall was built in line with the Kuri and bordered with garden paths that guide you through the precincts. Following the pathway to the east side of the main hall takes you a splendid rock garden. It is a man-made garden that shines out natural beauty with no sense of discomfort. Past the rock garden is the pond garden, another work created by man, which displays again an appearance of nature that is beautifully arranged with its moss-grown stones, and trees perfectly placed with various angles.
It is not nature as it is. The garden seeks to attain a refined beauty enhanced by artistic works modeled on nature.

Seek Refinement and Perfection


In Zen Buddhism, Dhyana, a form of Buddhist meditation, is considered a tool to release oneself from an occupied mind in an attempt to achieve enlightenment; therefore, being a prey of desires should be avoided, even a desire to hope to attain enlightenment is regarded as a manifestation of being captives of desires. Zen practitioners are required to keep refining and correcting their minds, so that they can ultimately achieve unfettered mind without being bound by fixed ideas expressed in words and visible appearances.
Ordinary people would find it difficult to reach such a spiritual state, but it might be sometimes important for them attentively listen to and feel the spirit, for such an attempt will develop your heart and mind. The more peaceful the heart is, the more enjoyable the life is.
Nature and human efforts become fused into one perfect reality―a spirit of Zen Buddhism that is simply expressed in Tenjuan Temple. Walking thought the quiet garden evokes your imagination.
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