京都春秋

The temple with beautiful zen gardens
Daitokuji Obai-in

Stepping into the precinct,
the well-maintained moss garden welcomes visitors.

The history of Obai-in goes back to a small temple called Obai-an built by Oda Nobunaga in 1562 to commemorate his father. After Oda Nobunaga was killed by a rebellion within his ranks, his vassal Toyotomi Hideyoshi renovated the temple. Hideyoshi ordered Sen-no-Rikyu, the renowned tea master, to design the garden. Jikichu-tei is a beautiful moss garden with a dry pond and maple leaves that are breath-taking beautiful in autumn.

Dry landscape gardens developed in zen temples and serve as a aid to meditation. Rocks, gravel, moss and greenery are carefully arranged in a limited area. The main garden is a rock and moss garden called Hatotei. White sand symbolizes the ocean and two stones situated in the center of moss are Buddha. Hato literally means breaking one’s head. In other words, abandoning one’s mental prejudices allows a new path to open up.

Kanza-tei is a small rock garden featuring a bridge with a viewing window built into it. Water falls from the waterfall and flow downs into the ocean of the main garden. The two rocks symbolize a boat and an island. When looking out of the window, one feels as if one were on a boat.

Buildings

Many buildings in Kyoto City were destroyed by fire in the Edo period, but Daitokuji, situated in the outskirts of the city, escaped the destructive fires. Many buildings of Obai-in are well preserved and have been designated Important Cultural Properties of Japan.

  • Hondo(Main Hall)

  • Karamon

  • Kuri(The oldest existing zen kitchen)

Opening Schedule
2018 October 6 – December 9
Closed to Visits
October 28
November 5 – 8
Opening Time
10:00am – 4:00pm
November 11th is closed at 14:00
Admission
Adult 600yen, High school student 400yen, Junior high school student 300yen
Address
80 Daitoku-ji Murasakino Kita-ku, Kyoto Google Maps

Access map

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