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Go by Train to Visit the Gardens in Ichijo-ji, Kyoto

You can leave on the Eizan Electric Railway in the afternoon to see gardens like the serene Shisen-do. Take your time to appreciate the beautiful gardens in Ichijoji, an area with a warm and cozy feel to it. The parfait made with local ingredients is also recommended! <*This information is from Kansai Walker (issued September 19, 2017)>

<1:50 PM>Eizan Electric Railway's Ichijoji Station

The Eizan Electric Railway Nostalgic 731, which debuted in 2015, is modeled on the Dena 1 train cars that were in operation when the Eizan Main Line was inaugurated in 1952. It runs on different lines at different times of the day, so you're lucky if you can get on it!

The wood interior has a lovely classic feel with red velvet seats.

The lettering on the plate is also reminiscent of the time when the line was inaugurated.

【8-minute walk to the next stop】

<2:00 PM>Ichijoji Nakatani

This is a well-established wagashi (Japanese sweets) store that is known for its Decchi Yokan. You definitely won't want to miss their Japanese-Western fusion sweets, such as cakes and parfaits with Japanese elements. Make sure your tummy is happy before heading out by ordering the Kinugoshi Ryokucha Tiramisu or Nakatani Parfait, both of which are popular standard desserts here.

This is the Nakatani Parfait (995 JPY). It is packed with Japanese ingredients that give it an amazing flavor, such as their special Decchi Yokan, hojicha kanten (agar-agar), and tofu yokan.

■Ichijoji Nakatani
Phone: 075-781-5504
Hours: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM (last order at 6:00 PM)
Closed: Wednesdays *Open every day in late November
Capacity: 28 seats
Smoking: Non-smoking
Access: 8 minutes on foot from Ichijoji Station on the Eizan Electric Railway

【9-minute walk to the next stop】

Ichijoji Nakatani

5 Ichijoji Hananoki-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

<3:00 PM>Zuiganzan Enkoji

Known as Jyu-gyu no Niwa, this chisen kaiyushiki teien (style of garden that features a path around a pond) is based on the Ten Bulls Picture, which depicts the path to enlightenment according to Zen Buddhism. It incorporates views of the surrounding mountains, and is known for the beauty of its moss and fall foliage. The Honryutei, which has stone dragons on white sand that depicts a sea of clouds, is another must-see.

Jyu-gyu no Niwa looks like a painting if seen from the study. There is a small Jizo (bodhisattva) in the garden that makes for adorable photographs that you can post on Instagram.

The best time to view the fall foliage at Jyu-gyu no Niwa is in mid-November. The garden is also beautiful in December, when the maple leaves create a carpet of foliage.

■Zuiganzan Enkoji
Phone: 075-781-8025
Hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Closed: None
Fees: (Entry fee) 500 JPY
Access: 17 minutes on foot from Eizan Electric Railway’s Ichijoji Station

【5-minute walk to the next spot】

Zuiganzan Enkoji

13 Ichijoji Kotani-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

<3:40 PM>Shisen-do Jozanji

This is a hermitage that was built by Ishikawa Jozan, a scholar from the early Edo Period. It is famous for the Shisen-no-Ma, which has portraits of 36 Chinese poets on all four of its walls. The Chinese-style garden that was designed by Jozan, a famed garden designer, has a view that looks like a deep painting. It is characterized by the comforting sound of shishiodoshi (water-filled bamboo tubes that clack against a stone when emptied).

The columns and banisters create a frame for the garden, which has a sense of depth like a painting.

Look up from the lower section of the garden and you will see Shisendo beyond the foliage, which contrasts beautifully with the greenery.

The shishiodoshi utilizes the flow of a brooklet that streams from a nearby mountain.

Carps - large and small - swim in the stream that almost seems to circle the garden.

This is a Udewa Nenju prayer beads bracelet (1,500 JPY) that combines natural stones and adorable glass beads. It can be worn as an accessory!

■Shisen-do Jozanji
Phone: 075-781-2954
Hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (last entry at 4:45 PM)
Closed: None
Fees: (Entry fee) 500 JPY
Access: 14 minutes on foot from Eizan Electric Railway’s Ichijoji Station

【8-minute walk to the next stop】

Shisen-do Jozanji

27 Ichijoji Monguchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

<4:30 PM>Konpuku-ji

This ancient temple was reconstructed by the high priest, Tesshu, during the mid-Edo period. It has connections with Matsuo Basho and Yosa Buson, and is considered to be a holy ground for haiku poems. There is a simple karesansui (dry landscape garden) that has artificial hills of Satsuki azalea and white sand. There is also a hermitage called “Basho-an” that is located high up, so you can see a panoramic view of the city.

The thatched roof of Basho-an can be seen beyond the three-tiered hedge.

Every year, the trees in the garden start to turn fiery red in mid-November.

Phone: 075-791-1666
Hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Closed: None
Fees: (Entrance fee) 400 JPY
Access: 14 minutes on foot from Eizan Electric Railway’s Ichijoji Station

【18-minute walk to the next stop】


20 Ichijoji Saikata-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

<6:00 PM>Tentenyu Main Store

This shop, which opened in 1971, is one of the oldest ramen shops in the ramen battleground of Ichijoji. Before the word “paitan” made its way to the ramen world, this restaurant was already serving ramen in a viscous potage-like soup made by simmering chicken bones! Its homemade char siu is also juicy and delicious!

This is the Nitamago Chuka Soba (650 JPY). It is a recommended dish that comes with a soft-boiled egg simmered in a sweet homemade sauce.

The restaurant, which has an old-school feel to it, has 8 counter seats, so customers can feel comfortable even if they’re alone.

■Tentenyu Main Store
Phone: 075-711-3255
Hours: 6:00 PM - 2:30 AM
(Sundays, Public holidays) 6:00 PM - 1:30 AM
*Closes when the ramen is sold out
Closed: Wednesdays
Capacity: 27 seats
Smoking: Non-smoking
Access: 7 minutes on foot from Eizan Electric Railway’s Ichijoji Station

Tentenyu Main Store

49 Ichijoji Nishi Suginomiya-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on October 13, 2017]

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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