Yuzen-en Light Up
Yuzen-en (Yuzen Garden) is part of the Chion-in (Chion Temple) complex. I took this photo in Yuzen-en on Saturday night (March 11th) as the garden was lit up for the Higashiyama Hanatouro event. This event is now over for another year. The next Hanatouro will be the Arashiyama Hanatouro in December. Perhaps there be a mini Hanatouro in Nishi-Hongan-ji and surrounds in October again this year. Of course individual temples, shrines, castles, and gardens have light up events at other times of the year, especially during the cherry blossom time or maple colour change time. If I get to go to one of those, I will probably BLOG about it.
As I mentioned in the previous BLOG post I was planning to visit Chion-in during this year's Higashiyama Hanatouro. If you saw my starter comment on my previous BLOG you would have read that I did make it and I was a little underwhelmed by it. I guess I had high expectations, because when I went to Sho-Ren-in (which is next door to Chion-in) for the Higashiyama Hanatouro a few years back, I blown away by the lights they had there. Given Chion-in is an even bigger temple complex I was expecting it to be huge, but they only lit up a couple of sections of with pretty simple lighting. However the garden is pretty beautiful, so maybe it was worth the 500yen ($5) entry just to see it. All I can say though, if you've got limited time at a Higashiyama Hanatouro skip Chion-in check out Sho-Ren-in instead.
While I was reflecting on my experiences of going to Higashiyama Hanatouro over the past 7 years I thought about what advice would I give someone who has never been before. Probably the best route if you've never been to a Higashiyama Hanatouro and you only had one night would be to start at Kiyomizu-dera (Kiyomizu Temple) and make your way to Yasaka-jinja (Yasaka Shrine) via Sannen-zaka. If you've seen Kiyomizu-dera before, then you probably don't need to go in, as tends to get very crowded during the Higashiyama Hanatouro. The only temple that I'd recommend stopping to enter on the way would be Entokuin. If you had a second night at the Higashiyama Hanatouro then start at Higashiyama station (Kyoto Municipal Subway's Tozai line) stop in at Sho-Ren-in (like a mini Hanatouro in one temple) after that head towards Maruyama Koen (Murayama Park) and finish up there.
Chion-in is the head temple of Jodo-Shu ("Pure Land") Buddhism. The temple is built in the area where Jodo-Shu's founder Honen first started preaching and eventually died. Honen trained Shinran (Mentioned in BLOG post "Towards the Gate of Otani Mausoleum") who later founded Jodo-Shin-Shu ("True Pure Land") Buddhism. These two teachers had a big impact on Japanese history as they advocated simpler forms of Buddhism that were more acceptable to the masses, than the older forms which were mostly popular with the upper classes. Like most Jodo-Shu and Jodo-Shin-Shu temples, there is no entrance fee to enter the temple grounds (except during the Higashiyama Hanatouro). There is however always an entrance fee for the two gardens (Yuzen-en and Hojo) that are in the temple complex.
Chion-in is in Higashiyama, Kyoto just next to the North East part of Maruyama Koen. The nearest train stations are: Higashiyama (on the Kyoto Subway's Tozai line); Gion-Shijo (on the Keihan Railway's Main line); and Kawaramachi (on the Hankyu Railway's Kyoto line).
This photo was taken hand held with a Nikon D700 camera and an AF-Nikkor 35mm f/2D lens. It was captured as a RAW (.NEF) file and post processed in DxO Optics Pro 11. I made the following adjustments:- Default camera and lens corrections applied; DxO Smart Lighting applied (25%); DxO ClearView applied (%50); Highlights -15%; Shadows +5%; Contrast +25%; Microcontrast +25%; Vibrancy +25%; Saturation +15%; and PRIME noise reduction applied.