Bamboo Forest, or Arashiyama Bamboo Grove or Sagano Bamboo Forest, is a natural forest of bamboo in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan. The forest consists of several pathways for tourists and visitors. The Ministry of the Environment considers it a part of the soundscape of Japan. [Wikipedia]
Tenryu-ji (天龍寺) is the head temple of the Tenryuji sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism and was first established by shogun Ashikage Takauji in 1339 to honor Emperor Go-Daigo. After its construction, it was deemed to be the most important Zen temple among Kyoto's Five Mountains (five major Zen temples). In 1994, Tenryu-ji achieved UNESCO recognition as a World Heritage Site. Situated in Arashiyama, the temple is famed for its picture-perfect view of the Zen garden during peak fall foliage. The exquisite landscape garden was curated by famed designer Muso Soseki and has survived years of civil wars and accidental fires, remaining its in original form. Tenryuji's buildings were damaged by multiple fires throughout the years and was only able to be rebuilt with the help of shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the 1500s. However, only around 10% of the original temple grounds remain in present time. Tenryu-ji also offers visitors the chance to experience dining like a monk — enjoy local Zen vegetarian cuisine, or "shojin ryori", at the temple's in-house restaurant.
Known as the “Moss Temple” or Kokedera Temple, Saiho-ji in Kyoto is home to one of Japan’s finest moss gardens. Built in 1339, the Zen temple was designed by monk Muso Soseki. However, it was the luxurious moss garden that made Saiho-ji rise to fame. Its beauty recognised by the UNESCO World Heritage Site committee, Saiho-ji’s garden contains over 120 different species of moss. Saiho-ji is a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple that was built to honor Amitabha. In 1994, after being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple’s moss garden became the star of the show. The expansive temple grounds are covered almost entirely in moss, making the forest look as if it came out of a fairytale. Lush green moss carpets the area surrounding the heart-shaped Golden Pond, making it a sight to behold. The moss garden is also designated as a Special place of Scenic Beauty and a Historic Site, its many titles bolstering its status as one of Kyoto’s most prized treasures. Due to the fragile nature of the moss garden, visits are only available via a guided tour and upon prior reservation. Saiho-ji’s restrictive admissions policy was put in place to protect the temple grounds from overcrowding. If you’re lucky enough to visit, don’t forget to admire the views from within the temple building itself!
Established in 888, Ninna-ji is a temple of great importance — being the head temple of the Omuro school in the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Ninna-ji Temple is known not only for the building itself but for its prime location as a late cherry blossom viewing spot. The temple is home to a host of Omuro Sakura trees, which are the latest blooming cherry trees within Kyoto. Other varieties include Somei Yoshino cherry trees and the ever-popular weeping cherry trees that are located outside the bell tower. Visitors often flock to the area to catch the last glimpse of spring before the short-lived blossom season ends. Ninna-ji is one of the lesser-known temples within Kyoto, despite its well-deserved status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Historic Monument of Ancient Kyoto. Back in 1467, the temple was ravaged by fire and destruction during the Onin War. Thankfully, it was rebuilt around 150 years later, by Kakushin Hosshinno and Tokugawa Iemitsu, and has since been meticulously preserved to this day. The expansive temple grounds also include an impressive Japanese garden, from which the five-storied pagoda can be seen in the background. Visitors to the temple can also partake in the Omuro Pilgrimage — a two-hour hiking course similar to the spiritual Shikoku Pilgrimage.