At the superb Kurodani Konkai Komyoji temple complex, rarely visited by tourists, listen to an expert on Japanese garden design and maintenance.
Enter the temple, Honen-in, through a moss-covered gate and pass between two sand mounds that are said to purify the visitor into this tranquil garden. The main hall itself is only open from April 1-17 when the camellias are in bloom.
The Philosopher’s Path follows a canal lined with hundreds of cherry trees which are an explosion of colour in April. Several temples line this walk including Ginkakuji or the Silver Pavilion,
Subject to permission, we visit Saiho-ji Temple, a must-see. The grounds of the temple complex form a lush carpet of about 120 varieties of moss. To enter the garden visitors must participate in the Buddhist practice of copying sutras called shakyo. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds!
If time permits visit Tenryu-ji Temple with its Zen garden that dates to the 14th century. The garden features a large pond reflecting the surrounding trees and rocks and makes use of “borrowed scenery” of the background Arashiyama hills.
Overnight Kyoto. B