‘Divine garden’ surrounded by its gorgeousness.
Text :Kaniwa Hioki
Heian-jingu Shrine was built in 1895 in order to commemorate 1,100th anniversary of the transfer of national capital to Heian-kyo. This reconstructed auditorium of Heian-kyo, Chodo-in, painted in bright vermillion color produces a gorgeous atmosphere with these rich pink Yae-beni-shidare-zakura trees (Yae Beni weeping cherry trees) that nobody can see such a thing in any other places in Kyoto.
10,000 tsubo Shin-en Garden surrounding a main building of shrine was constructed by a garden maker, the seventh Jihe OGAWA, and he built 4 different kinds of garden in Minami (South), Nishi (West), Naka (Middle), Higashi (East). 300 cherry trees are planted around a pond and the reflection of the scenery reminds us of a picture scroll in Heian dynasty.
The most incredible thing is the point of view to see Kihinkan from Hashidono bridge (Taiheikaku) built over the biggest pond, Seiho-ike. Both were built and given by Kyotogosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace) in Taisho era and you definitely feel something luxurious by thinking of the atmosphere in Heian dynasty.
By the way, ‘Sasame-yuki’ written by Junichiro Tanizaki has a scene that 4 sisters visit Heian-jingu Shrine to see cherry blossoms. There is Byakkoro Tower painted vermillion on the other side of bunch of cherry blossom trees. In this novel, he uses a metaphor for these cherry blossoms as ‘crimson clouds’, so that it is sure that you can see a fantasy world here.
After you look around cherry blossoms, you can go to the shops selling, Hanamikuji(an oracle), salted sakura, Yatsuhashi filled with Sakura-an, sakura sake lees candy, and postcards with sakura images in. The beset season for Beni weeping cherry trees is in early April, and you can enjoy ‘Benishidare concert’ at HIgashi Shin-en Garden. It is going to be an amazing time to see cherry blossoms at a night time with a live music.
ADDRESS : Okazakinishi Tenno-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)
PHONE : +81(0)75-761-0221
OPEN : 6:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m.(depending on seasons)
ENTRANCE FEE : free
WEBSITE : http://www.heianjingu.or.jp/