An Afternoon visit to Jōruri-ji and Gansenji

Recently I decided to finally take an afternoon and go over to visit Joruri-ji and Gansenji Temples. These are both located just north of Nara in the Kizugawa area of southern Kyoto prefecture. I have cycled past there several times before, but never stopped to visit.  This time I opted to take advantage of a special bus pass that would take me from JR Nara station to there and back.

The first stop was at Jōruri-ji Temple which was founded in 1047 by the Priest Eshin. It is a temple of Pure Land Buddhism that is known for its historic garden. This traditional Japanese garden is one of the few remaining examples of a Paradise garden that dates back to the early Heian Period.

After a nice walk the next stop was Gansenji Temple a few kilometers away. This temple dates back to the Nara period and was said to have been founded at the wish of Emperor Shomu in 729. Main highlights include the main hall and a three-storied pagoda. It is also known to have numerous hydrangea blossoms in June.

Besides either a car or bicycle, these two sites can be easily accessed by bus from JR Nara station and take roughly 30 minutes to get to. If you decide to visit by bus make sure to check the bus times in advance as the last bus from there leaves not too late in the afternoon. I found this out at the last minute and was very fortunate to catch the last bus out of that area.

Vendors at the entrance to Jōruri-ji

Main hall at Jōruri-ji

Main hall at Jōruri-ji

Paradise garden from the Heian period

Pagoda at Main hall

Entrance to Gansenji

Ancient stone bath at the entrance

Pagoda at Gansenji


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