Destination: 曼殊院 Manshuin

Impression: The walk up to Manshuin is a gorgeous stroll through the quiet neighborhoods of Sakyō-ku. Especially in fall, the hills are alive with the colors of Kyoto's famous maple trees. Some of the most vibrant colors I've seen in the city turn on this hill, and it is very easy to see why the area is named after it. The complex is quite large, with some minor hiking routes to the northeast, and is very well groomed. 

Photography is not allowed inside, but there are a number of very beautiful artifacts on display, as well as a number of rooms with sliding doors painted in Edo Period woodblocks. They are all quite lovely, and not roped off, so you can enter the rooms and see the art up close. In addition, the gardens are a lovely style known as karesansui, or waterless pond. White sand is captured in a still flow from rocks to give the appearance of a waterfall or pond. The garden is famous for its foliage year round. The temple would be a lovely place to just sit down and sketch. There is a room that also houses many old tableware and serving ware relics as they would have been stored. A secret treasure. 

Best Season: Any Season, Fall will be crowded but worth the visit.

History: Manshuin is actually a relocated temple from the Saito region of Mt. Hiei. It was originally known as Tobibo and was founded by Gengyo Daishi in the 8th century. After it was moved, a prince of the Tomohito family became the first abbot. It was he who orchestrated the move of the temple from north of the imperial palace to its current area, which is in the vicinity of Shugakuin Imperial Villa. The garden and room designs can be largely accredited to Prince Ryosho. It has many treasures within, but two of its most important are a scroll of the deity Acala painted in yellow, as well as the Manshuin edition of the Kokin Waka-shu, or Kokinshu. This collection of poems is a critical collection comprised at imperial request during the Heian Period.

42 Takenōchichō, Ichijōji, Kyōto
Website:  (Japanese Only)

Hours & Admission:
9:00~17:00 (Reception closes at 16:30)
Admission: 600 yen Adults, 500 yen Students, 400 yen Children
Parking Available 


 (Please view the rest of these photos on my Flickr Stream!)