Set in a bamboo grove at the northern end of Kyoto city, Koto-in is very beautiful and tranquil place to visit. The grounds are covered in moss and the bamboos are accompanied by Japanese maples which give a marvellous display in mid to late November. Even without the autumn colour when I visited earlier this month, the greenery there was soothing to the eyes and the quietness of the grounds of the temple a good retreat from the bustle of the city.
Koto-in is one of the sub temples in a neighbourhood of Zen Buddhist Temples known as Daitoku-ji. It belongs to the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism, but it also has an interesting Christian connection. The temple was established in 1601 by Tadaoki Hosokawa whose wife Tama (baptised as "Gracia" which in Japanese is pronounced "Garasha") was a famous Christian during the time Christianity was illegal in Japan. Todaoki's and Gracia's remains are interned in a stone lantern at the back of the temple.
Garasha is the mascot of the city of Nagaokakyo in Kyoto prefecture as she and Tadaoki once resided in Shoryuji Castle in Nagaokakyo. In early November in Nagaokakyo there's an annual festival known as the Garasha Matsuri in her honour, with a costume parade on the 2nd Sunday of November. I've also BLOGGED a little more about Garasha on another site.
It is possible to walk to Koto-in from Kitaoji subway station (on the Kyoto Municipal subway's Karasuma line) to Koto-in, it takes about a 15 minute walk west along Kita-Oji Dori. The 205 bus stops right next to the Daitoku-ji Temple neighbourhood. You can transfer to a north bound Kyoto City Bus No. 205 from the Hankyu Kyoto line at Saiin station, from the JR Sagono line at Emmachi station, from the Randen Kitano line at Kitano-Hakubaicho station, and from the Randen Keifuku Dentetsu-Arashiyama line at Nishioji-Sanjo Station.
This photo was taken with a Nikon D700 Camera and an AF Nikkor 50f/1.8D lens. It was captured as a RAW (.NEF) file and post processed in DxO Optics Pro. I made the following adjustments: Default camera and lens corrections applied; DxO Smart Lighting applied (%25); DxO ClearView applied (50%); Contrast (+50%); Microcontrast (+25%); Highlights (-50%); Shadows (+10%); Blacks (-5%); Vibrancy (+50%); Saturation (+25%); PRIME Noise Reduction applied.