We decide to make the pilgrimage to the shosei-en Zen garden before we leave Kyoto.
This garden has a very long and chequered history. It started its life as a beautiful orange grove , called the ‘Kikoku-tei’, somewhere in the Heian era around 800 to 900 AD. Built by the son of Emperor Saga. In the 1600’s the Tokugawa shogunate ‘acquired’ the land and passed it to the Higashi Hinganji Zen temple. Perhaps to appease their conscience?
Anyway, whatever its past history, god had her own way and it was completely burnt to the ground in 1858, and then just to prove that she really meant it. She did it again to what was rebuilt 6 years later. Get the hint!
In the early years of the Meiji restoration around 1870 to 1900 Everything was rebuilt and restored to what we can visit today. A beautiful, tranquil space, right in the middle of Kyoto, just a few hundred metres from Kyoto’s busy main station.
There is a very pretty tea house on the lake – lovely !