See Kiyomizudera Temple as depicted in this 17th c. scroll and as it stands today overlooking Kyoto.
Over the centuries, each region developed its own garden types, shaped by various artistic, cultural, economic, and personal considerations. Certain basic features, however, are common to most East Asian gardens and help define a distinctive regional aesthetic.
As seen here in Pictures of Excursions through the Famous Places of the Capital, the gardens of Japanese Buddhist temples appeal to pilgrims seeking religious enlightenment and redemption. Kiyomizudera, an ancient Buddhist temple founded in 798 and located in the hills East of Kyoto, remains a favorite site for pilgrimages and excursions.
Mountains recede in the distance against the deep green of the evergreens covering the hills, while the temple's gardens of cherry and maple trees attract crowds of visitors in the spring and autumn. This illustration is a detail from a long handscroll of famous places around Kyoto. Visitors today enjoy many of the same sites as in this eighteenth-century painting, such as the small tower in the middle of this detail.
From the expansive veranda overhanging a steep mountainside, visitors enjoy an incomparable view of the city of Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital from 794-1868. This building, the Hondō (Main Hall), was built in 1633. The temple's name, which means "pure water temple," is written on a label to the left of the large roof.
Compiled by Marc Bretzfelder
Office of the Chief Information Officer