南禅寺 Nanzen-ji (Southern Mountain Temple)
Nanzen-ji is considered by some to be the most famous and important Zen temple in the world. It was built in 1264 by Emperor Kameyama as a detached palace. He became a priest in 1289 and converted Nanzenji to a Zen temple in 1291.
There are 12 sub-temples at Nanzen-ji, but few are open to the public and Tenyu-an garden is open only in the spring and autumn. Chosho-in, also called the Marishiten, has served vegetarian meals for over 300 years. Also open are Konchi-in, Nanyo-in and Nanzen-in. In front of Nanzen-in is the Lake Biwa Viaduct (Biwako Sosui) that was built between 1885 and 1890 to carry water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto.
Adjacent to Nanzen-ji is the Lake Biwa Incline railway that was used to carry boats from Lake Biwa to Kyoto. No longer operational, it is maintained for historical value. It is lined with cherry trees so is very popular in the spring.
© Dick Harris Photography