If you are new to this on-going series, part one can be found here.
Seiryu-den & Shogun-zuka
Shogun-zuka is a mound about 20 square metres in diametre. It is located north of Shijo on Mt. Higashiyama. In 794, when Emperor Kanmu was looking for a location to establish a new capital, he climbed to the area now known as Shogun-zuka and decided to move the capital to Kyoto. The Emperor buried a statue of the Shogun in the mound and prayed for the peace of the capital.
It also offers some of the best views of any temple in the city.
A vast wooden observation deck has been constructed at Seiryu-den. From it you can overlook Kyoto city including landmarks such as Kyoto Imperial Palace, Heian Shrine (shown above) and Mt. Hiei. From the west observation platform you can see the buildings of Osaka and more of Kyoto, including Kyoto Tower.
Originally built in 1913 the main hall was the training gym of the Kyoto Branch of the Japan Federation of Martial Arts. In 1947 it was moved and became the martial arts training gym for police officers named the "Heian Dojo". In 1998 it was closed and moved to its current location. On my most recent visit there was a beautiful cherry blossom just outside the main entrance.
The large, newly established wooden stage has an area of 1046 m/sq, 4.6 times greater than that of the one in Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
Also within the precincts is a strolling style garden that includes a Karesansui (Japanese rock garden). This garden was made in the Muromochi period (1338–1573) using the most artistically and technologically advanced methods available at the time in Japan. Just by taking a glance one can see that this was an ambitious project.
● Shogunzuka mound is reached from the top of Mt. Higashiyama driveway that leads from Sanjo-dori Keage and passes through Gojo-dori ●After getting off at the Seiryu-den Fukutokunokado Gate, the coach parks at the free municipal parking lot ●20 minutes by taxi from Kyoto Station, 10 minutes by taxi from Shorenin ●Parking lots for taxis and ordinary vehicles are available within the Seiryu-den Fukutokunokado Gate
●The Keihan bus (no.70) is in service on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, every day in November, and during consecutive holidays in April and May ●Bus fare: Adults 230 yen, children 120 yen
The lack of easy access may explain why this temple is so quiet, but if you want some peace and some awesome panoramic views of the city then Seiryu-den really can't be beat. It's also only 500 yen.
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Until next time, happy shooting.