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Hosen-in Temple in Kyoto

An understated beauty away from the tourist crowds

Hosen-in is a small temple lodging located in northern Kyoto. There is the famous temple called Sanzen-in near there. Hosen-in was originally established in 1012 as a temple lodging of Shorin-in. It still has such a quiet and peaceful atmosphere in the house and the garden as well.

There are three highlights at Hosen-in. The first one is Goyo-no-matsu, a very old and gorgeous pine tree which is 700 years old. It must be very hard to keep its beauty and balance now, so old branches are supported by many bars and ropes. When you visit, at first you will sit down in the large tatami-matted room. Then you will be served matcha (powdered green tea) with some Japanese confection. You can enjoy these while watching the old pine tree through the beams and pillars of the house. It looks like a true picture with a picture frame, and the view is truly amazing. I believe you can have a very peaceful, meditative time there.

The second highlight requires a glance upward to see the trace of blood on the ceiling. At the end of the 16th century, there was a big samurai battle in Fushimi, Kyoto, and they say several hundred samurai warriors committed suicide on the floor of Fushimi castle. They were the losers. When the temple was built, the floor boards of the castle were used for the ceiling to make a memorial service.

The third highlight is called suikinkutsu. This looks like an earthen jar in the garden, and it’s filled with small stones. Usually, water drips into it naturally, and they also prepare small, vertical bamboo-pipes. When you put your ear to the pipe, you can hear such random and cute sounds from the bottom of the jar. These sounds are just from the dripping water, but they feel like the sounds of the universe, easing and purifying your mind.

According to a proverb, there are 808 temples in Kyoto. Of course, this is not entirely accurate and merely suggests there are many temples in the city. There are also many palaces to see in Kyoto, from the huge and famous to small Hosen-in that I write about today. If you really want to touch some Japanese beauties, I recommend that you visit small but attractive spots like Hosen-in when you have time.

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Elena Lisina 6 years ago
Great view with the tree!
Bonson Lam 12 years ago
Ohara is one of the hidden gems in the mountains behind Kyoto, and this place is such a beautiful place, especially in fall. I love the pictures too!

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