Discover the Artistry and Soul of a Japanese Garden Through Its Gardeners—Tea Ceremony and Vegetarian Refreshments—
Discover the artistry and soul of a Japanese garden, a place of scenic beauty that has persisted since the 1600s, through the lens of its gardeners at the Higashi Hongan-ji Temple in Kyoto. Through this experience, you will enjoy a tea ceremony along with vegetarian refreshments in the private drawing room and tea room of the temple.
There is a mansion on the grounds of Kyoto’s Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, and its garden, known as Shōsei-en Garden, is a historic Japanese-style garden that was created during the Edo period (1603–1867).
Situated opposite Kyoto Station, the garden sits on a vast plot of land, approximately 35,000 square meters large, has two ponds, one large and one small, and has a group of elegant mansions which contain a tea room and a drawing room. The landscape is rich and varied, with such seasonal flowers as maple trees and cherry blossoms. The garden has served as a guest house of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, and many distinguished guests from Japan and abroad have come for the hospitality, including Tokugawa Yoshinobu (1837–1913), who was the last shogun of the Edo shogunate, Emperor Meiji (1852–1912), and Nicholas II of Russia (1868–1918). This Buddhist temple garden was designated a national place of scenic beauty because it has retained the magnificent essence of the Edo period through its arrangement of garden stones; it is the imagination of literati come to life.
For this plan, visitors will experience the essence of traditional craftsmanship and the Japanese aesthetic found in the appreciation of nature and spirituality through a guided tour and pruning demonstration by the very people who tend to the garden every day: the gardeners. The garden has been graced with nature’s abundant blessings over the 370 years since its opening. It serves as a valuable green sanctuary in the heart of the city, a biological haven (refugium) for all living things. The head gardeners are currently leading a project entitled “Biodiverse Garden Cultivation and Management” to ensure the timeless preservation of this cherished environment. Examples and in-depth explanations of this project will also be on offer within this plan.
Finally, visitors will be able to transport themselves back to the refined elegance of the Edo period through the meticulous craftsmanship of a Japanese-style boat, expertly recreated for visitors to experience the boating lifestyle of that time. This, in addition to the hospitality epitomized by tea ceremony and accompanied by vegetarian refreshments in the exclusive tea room and drawing room, is sure to be a one-of-a-kind premium experience of a lifetime.