Three sub-temples(塔頭) are open to the public all year round. To experience Zen ascetic practices, advance reservations are required.
Experience Zen in English
Famous painter Kano Motonobu(狩野元信1476-1559) created a garden. This Karesansui(枯山水・dry landscape) garden,“The Garden of Motonobu(元信の庭)”. was designated as a historic site and a place of scenic beauty.
Another Yoko-en garden (余香苑・lingering scent garden) is a Chisen-kaiyu style garden(池泉回遊式庭園・garden with a path around a pond and spring).
Visitors can enjoy the view of seasonal scenery as they walk around the garden .
The garden: historic site and place of scenic beauty
The area consists of four gardens: Seijo-no-niwa garden (清浄の庭:pure), Wabi-no-niwa garden (侘びの庭:clean and quiet) , Shii-no-niwa garden(思惟の庭:think) and Shin’nyo-no-niwa garden(真如の庭：truth). They were created during the Edo period.
By the way, enjoying tea ceremony had been prohibited at Myoshin-ji temple for the reason to interfere with zen scenic practice. But this temple has a teahouse named Kihaku-an (既白庵). It was built in the corner of the premise and some priests reportedly enjoyed tea ceremony secretly.
This temple offers lodging services as Shukubo(宿坊)
The southern garden of main hall is Kiriishi-no-niwa garden(切石の庭：cut stone).And Aun-no-niwa garden(阿吽の庭：beginning and end of all things・one of the Buddhism incantation) is Karesansui garden in front of the Ohjoin(大書院：large guest room with drawing space).
Shukubo(宿坊)：lodging facility for ascetic priests, in addition, civilian travelers are allowed to stay in this temple.
Kihaku-an House and four gardens
Hyo-nen-zu:瓢鮎図:picture of a gourd and a catfish
The motif of this picture is one of the Zen-mondo(禅問答)
瓢鮎図、どうやったら瓢箪でなまずをとれるかって考える水墨画なんだけど、上に30人のお坊さんが1人1人答えてて、そのひとつにそんなこと考えてないで座禅をしろって書いてあるんだって😂おもしろい😂 pic.twitter.com/Y6OmVWDtpK— 秋葉響子 (@kyoko_akiba) July 24, 2017
That is to say how to catch slippery catfish with a slick gourd.
Answers of thirty-one distinguished priests were written at the upper part of the hanging scroll by classical Chinese poetry.
Zen-mondo(question and answer) is a method of acetic practice.
This Suiboku-ga(水墨画・painting with India ink), painted by Josetsu(如拙:late 14th to 15th century), was designated as a National Treasure.
Visitors can usually appreciate replica of this at Taizo-in temple.
※Myoshin-ji temple(妙心寺): Myoshinji-cho Hnazono Ukyo-ku Kyoto, JAPAN
JR:Hanazono St.(花園駅) 20minutes walk
City bus stop: “Myoshinji-kitamon-mae” or ”Myoshinji-mae”