Gardens of Heian Jingu

The Heian Shrine (Jingu) is home to some of the most scenic gardens in Japan. Masterpieces that represent the classical garden designs of the Meiji era (late 19th century), these gardens are spread across a relatively large area of roughly 33,000 square meters behind the main shrine building, and are divided into 4 parts (west, south, middle, east). You can read about each of these 4 gardens on Heian Shrine’s official website. You have to pay a nominal fee to view these gardens, but it is well worth the money and highly recommended. These gardens were created over a 20 year period, and if you are lucky, you might see some rare animal species such as a yellow pond turtle. The garden is filled with cherry trees and the best time to visit these gardens is Spring (April), when the cherry blossoms make for a spectacular scenery with postcard views of the pond and trees.

The pictures below were taken during a winter visit in early January.

heian garden 1

                       (entering the south garden first)

heian garden 2

(In the south garden: A tram car in memory of the first tram line in Japan being set up in Kyoto)

heian garden 3

  (the pond water is so still that the reflection looks like the real thing)

heian garden 4

                                                  (west garden)

The west garden has a house for a tea ceremony which one can apparently reserve for 600 yen.

heian garden 5

                       (views of the west garden)

heian garden 6

             (path leading to the middle garden)

heian garden 7

  (pond in the middle garden, beautiful reflection in the extremely still water)

heian garden 8

         (blue dragon pond seen through the trees of the middle garden)

heian garden 9

(The blue dragon pond with cylindrical stones that were once girders of two ancient bridges)

heian garden 10

         (a stone lantern in middle garden)

heian garden 11

         (east garden with Higashiyama hills in the background)

heian garden 12

               (walking along the pond in east garden)

heian garden 13

           (east garden pond with cherry trees all around)

heian garden 14

(stones are placed in a certain design to enhance the sound of the water stream)

heian garden 15

                                       (Tai-hei Kaku bridge)

In the east garden, there is a guest house called the Shobikan Guest House, which hosts VIP and political leaders. Wedding ceremonies also take place at this guest house.

heian garden 16

                (Shobikan guest house in the background)

heian garden 17

             (view from inside the Tai-hei Kaku bridge)

heian garden 18

                                       (Shobikan guest house)

heian garden 19

               (A stone bridge in east garden pond)

heian garden 20

                           (east garden stone bridge)

heian garden 21

                   (centuries-old trees being preserved)

heian garden 22

                    (the famous Tai-hei Kaku roof bridge)

heian garden 23

                               (east garden pond)

heian garden 24

         (very old tree in the east garden)

heian garden 25

                                 (Little cherries budding out)

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Items: Heian Shrine (official website)

Price: Price to visit the Heian Shrine garden is 600 yen or ₹ 353. (shrine visit is free)

Location: 97, Okazaki Nishitennocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8341, Japan

Timings: Open everyday, 8:30 am to 5 pm

Telephone: +81 75-761-0221

Type: Religious/Tourist

How to get there:Take bus numbers 203, 204, 100, 5, 32, 93 OR take subway to Higashiyama station and walk 10 mins north. For bus map, go here and scroll all the way to the bottom to Other Information where it says: Route Map – City Bus Sightseeing Map “Busnavi”. Download the second option ‘download 2′.

Language: Mainly Japanese. There are no guides. Self-visit garden.

Also visit: Heian Shrine

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