南禅寺Nanzen-ji Temple is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto and the headquarters of the Nanzen-ji branch of Rinzai Zen. It was established in 1291 by Emperor Kameyama who was a student of the Zen master, 仏心大明国師Busshin Daishin Kokushi, when he dedicated his palace to be used as a temple. The abbot was always chosen from the best Rinzai Zen master of each period. Althought the temple is not one of the five great Zen temples of Kyoto, it is the head temple presiding over the 京都五山Kyoto Gozan, a network of Zen Buddhist temples established in China during the Souther Song Dynasty (1127-1279).
The compounds of the temple are nationally-desigated historical sites and the Houjou gardens a place of scenic beauty.
In early December 2008 when Yukiko came to Kyoto for a day, we just passed through the Nanzen-ji Temple grounds on our way to 永観堂Eikando Temple. The 紅葉kouyou was fantastic in the area; the crowds of people were testimony to that.
the 疎水Sosui (canal) up ahead…the canal was constructed in the late 1800’s (a second one was added in the early 1900’s) and transports water from Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture to Kyoto; it plays an important role of providing hydroelectricity.
the 水道橋Suidou-bashi (aqueduct) up close…it was designed after the aqueduct system of ancient Rome.