Translated by Hilary Keyes
Kyoto's Rurikoin Temple: Artistically Tinted Autumn Leaves
Though Kyoto is known for its many autumnal sights, one that is particularly beautiful is Rurikoin. This little known place is incredible, a must-see for those wanting to enjoy fall's splendor.
Written by Keishi Kawakami
A Secret Place to See the Autumn Leaves in Kyoto
In the Yase area of Kyoto, there is a hidden place that becomes an oasis of reds and golds in the autumn...
Walk up the wide stairs and cross the stone bridge…
Pass through the narrow traditional entrance way...
Carefully climb the old wooden stairs one by one and,
You will find yourself standing in a room surrounded by a fantastical landscape of vivid color.
Preternatural Beauty: Ruri no Niwa
From this single viewing platform you can enjoy gorgeous views of two incredible Japanese gardens. The first of which is Ruri no Niwa.
This is the view from the first floor of this two storey building. The striking contrast of red and lush green is breathtaking.
This is the photograph from the beginning of this article, which is the view of Ruri no Niwa as seen from the second floor.
It almost seems impossible to think that these two views could come from the same garden, doesn’t it?
Skeptical though you may feel, the way the light filters through the leaves and the angle they are viewed from creates two completely different perspectives on the same garden when viewed from the first and second floor.
From the first, you can appreciate the contrast of the autumn leaves against the rich green moss, while from the second the autumn leaves spread out before your eyes like a painting.
Please come and experience these brilliant differences for yourself.
Liberate Your Spirit: Garyu no Niwa
This is the second garden, Garyu no Niwa.
Thanks to the arrangement of the rocks, water and moss in this garden, it is said to resemble a dragon ascending towards the skies, and as such, those that come to view it find their spirits becoming lighter and their fortunes changing for the better.
Where is this Place?
This is Rurikoin, a silent historical oasis and temple tucked into the Yase area of Kyoto.
The area name, Yase, is written as '八瀬' in kanji, but the word 'yase' can also be the reading of the characters '矢背', which means "arrows (in the) back" in English, and refers to the injuries suffered by Oama no Oji during the Jinshin Revolt in 672 CE. Oama no Oji, who later became Emperor Temmu, is said to have come to this area to heal his injuries in the "Yase no Kamaburu" (steam bath), which is the origin of this name.
Ever since, Yase has been known as a healing place, one beloved by the aristocracy and the samurai classes.
Here is the famous steam bath, Yase no Kamaburo. Located within the same building as the two viewing places, this is a Japanese-style steam bath, and is said to have been the archetype that subsequent baths were based on, making this a precious artifact itself.
There is also Kikakutei, a historical tea house, located on these grounds.
Rurikoiin is a quiet place filled with incredible sights. If you take the train from Kyoto's busy Kawaharamachi and Gion districts, you will find yourself transported to this quiet, rural area in about 20-30 minutes.
Cross over the stream near the station and walk towards the brilliantly colored trees; Rurikoin is waiting patiently there for you.
If you plan to sightsee in Kyoto in the autumn, please make a stop at this history-rich temple and enjoy these two wondrous gardens in person; your spirits will thank you.
Address: Kyoto, Sakyo, Higashiyama, Kamitakano 55
Open: Special limited admission. Refer to website for details.
Credit Cards: -
Languages: Japanese, Basic English
Nearest Station: Yasahieizan-guchi Station, Eizan Electric Railway (Eiden)
Access: 5 minute walk from Yasahieizan-guchi Station; a 20 minute walk from Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan railway)
There are no public parking lots in this area. Access by public transportation only.
Admission: 2000 yen
Website: Rurikoin Temple