- February 07 2016
Beyond Precious!! Snowy Winter In Kyoto (4) : The White World of Kodaiji Garden
Hello! This is KOKORO MOYOU, and I’ll be introducing some information about Kyoto.
In this article, we introduce the snowscape of “Kodaiji”, located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto city.
We visited the temple on January 1st, 2015. All the photos were taken on that day.
Although it is extremely rare to see snow in Kyoto, it was surprising how much it snowed from the end of 2014 into early 2015.
It was the first three days of 2015 when it snowed the most. Because the snow kept falling on New Year’s Day, Kodaiji was completely covered by snow when we visited. Because we visited in the evening, it was already quite dark, and the lights created an even more beautiful snowy scene.
What is Kodaiji?
Kodaiji is a temple built by Nene, the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a famous Japanese samurai. She built the temple to mourn her husband’s death when he passed away.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi is a famous person who, during the period when many landowners were fighting over territory, subjected the whole country of Japan to a single government. Nene, tirelessly supported her husband’s work, and thus is considered to be a great person, who is still got loved and respected by many people today.
Kodaiji is a very calm and beautiful temple where we can take a peek at her personality and elegant nature.
Let’s Explore Snow Covered Kodaiji!
First, this is the temple’s kitchen.
This is near the entrance.
We can slightly see Gionkaku of Daiunin through the snowy haze. It was built in 1928 and is registered as one of Japan’s Tangible Cultural Properties. It is a beautiful 3-story building. The mist filled air is beautiful, isn’t it?
This is Ihouan, Kodaiji’s tea room. The snow is piled on top of the thatched roof, nice and thick.
This stone lantern is also beautiful, isn’t it?
This is Kangetsudai and Kaisandou. Kaisandou is the temple on the right, and Kangetsudai is the small building, located in the middle of the hallway with a roof, which connects Shoin (living room and office) and Kaisandou.
The Japanese Kanji characters in “Kangetsudai” literally mean “A Platform for Moon Watching”. As the name suggests, Nene is said to have used the Kangetsudai to gaze at the moon as she was remembering her late husband, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
This is the garden. The look of the garden is almost the same as about 400 years ago when Kodaiji was built, around 400 years ago. Even today, we can enjoy the scenery that Nene was viewing today.
The way the light shines on the piled snow in the whole area creates a mysterious atmosphere.
It has gotten even darker.
We still have more snowscapes of the garden to see. The snow covering the trees is beautiful.
Kodaiji’s garden is said to be a great garden because the bold placement of rocks that expresses the gorgeous atmosphere of its time. It was selected as one of the Special Places of Scenic Beauty in Japan.
We definitely feel an air of dignity in this garden.
This is Hojo (a place where monks live), and a view of the garden from there.
The snow on the trees looks heavy.
This is near the Garyuike Pond.
The white snow is slightly reflected on the surface of the pond.
This is the approach to the temple.
This is Karakasatei. This is a different tea room than Ihouan. Although there are many beautiful tea rooms in Kodaiji, this Karakasatei was selected as one of Japan’s Important Cultural Properties.
This is Shiguretei, which is connected with Karakasatei via a hallway.
This is the bamboo grove in the back. A snow covered bamboo grove is a really rare scene, isn’t it?
It has an even more unique beauty when illuminated by lights.
The bamboo look cold, don’t they? Haha.
What did you think?
Although Kodaiji illuminated by lights is among sightseeirs all year around, there are not many people who have seen the temple with this much snow, right?
As we mentioned earlier, it is very rare to see snow in Kyoto, so it might be hard to predict if and when you can experience the same scenery during your sightseeing. However, if you have plans to go to Kyoto in winter-time, it might be a good idea to check the weather forecast as often as possible.
If you are interested in Kodaiji’s lights viewed in different seasons, check out the articles below:
If you are interested in other winter scenery in Kyoto, check out the following articles: