A temple has existed on this site from as early as 900 AD. Today, it is the headquarters temple of the Yamashina school of Shingon Buddhism. The large pond here, also known as hamuro-no-ike is the main attraction of this garden. While today it is known for its lotus, water lilies and irises, originally, this was probably the main element of a much larger pond and hill garden on the estate of Miyamichi Iemasu, a member of the Heian aristocracy and connected through marriage to the powerful Fujiwara family.
The temple was estroyed in 1470 during war and then later restored by the Tokugawa family and the Imperial Household. Successive head priests have been drawn directly from the Imperial family. Mito Mitsukuni (popularly known as Mito Komon) is said to have donated the stone lantern in front of the Shoin.
The garden would originally have been used for boating and poem-writing parties, but today one can still stroll through the site.
Take the Kyoto Subway Tozai Line: Ono Station - walk 6 minutes
Free parking: 8 buses & 50 cars
Departed the prince --
Vanished the smoke
Lonely the beach
Along its length.
Ura sabishiku mo
Mie wataru ka na.
Ki no Tsurayuki (866-946) Kokin wakashû trans. by M.V. Otake