Shisen-do Jozanji Temple

Located in Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City, this was once the site of a mountain villa built by Edo period literati Ishikawa Jozan for his retirement. It is a nationally designated Historic Site. Today, it is a Soto Buddhist temple that is also called the Jozan-ji. Jozan had the Shisen-do built at the age of 59. For the remaining 30 some years of his life, this great man of letters devoted his time to poetry, calligraphy, and gardening, to the exclusion of even sleeping and eating. The Shisen-do preserves a great number of his works and calligraphy and, in addition to a standing exhibition, the temple a special three day exhibition starting from May 23 each year, the anniversary of Jozan’s death. The temple’s garden was designed by Jozan himself, a renowned gardener, and is particularly famous for its satsuki azaleas in spring and fall foliage in autumn. It is said that the first shishi-odoshi was created here. The shishi-odoshi is a bamboo tube balanced on a pivot which slowly fills with water until it tips over, draining the water and falling back into position with a “plonk” noise. Shishi-odoshi are practical – their sound scares away deer and wild boars that might eat garden plants – but their sound also accentuates the silence of a garden, and it is said Jozan loved the sound they made.

Spot details

Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Ichijoujimonguchichou 27
9:00-17:00(Last entry16:45)
[Admission fee]
[High school student]400yen
[Elementary and junior high school students]200yen
Parking Lot
Not available
※Nearby fee parking available
Credit Card
Not available
Not available
Not available
English Menu
Available (Others, Chinese/Korean Available)
Estimated stay time
0-30 minutes

Information Sources:  NAVITIME JAPAN

Articles about this spot


  • Stroll garden of breathtaking beauty
    5.0 Reviewed:2020.08.08
    The garden of Shisen-do is simply out of this world. I would rank it without hesitation to the top 5 of Kyoto gardens:not only has it an impeccable composition, it is also fundamentally different...
  • Beautiful
    5.0 Reviewed:2019.12.15
    We were lucky enough to be in Kyoto for the autumn leaves, so chose our sight seeing around this theme. We had come to Enkoji, the temple next door which is also fantastic and a must see, and...
  • Go for the Azeleas
    4.0 Reviewed:2019.06.08
    The main attraction of this temple seems to be in May, and I hit this one at the right time when the azeleas were in bloom. Take them away and the garden would be pretty ordinary - apart from the...

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