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Rurikoin, or 瑠璃光院, in Kyoto; the autumn leaves extravaganza and “Yukamomiji.”

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The short history of Rurikoin

 Rurikoin is a small Jodo school temple in the Yase mountain. It  belongs to Komyoji temple in Gifu prefecture. As same as some the famous temple like Kinkakuji or Ryoanji temple, it used be a villa.

2018年3月30日東寺の桜

 Rurikoin was founded in 2005. It is a “new” temple because most of the shrines and temples in Kyoto were built in the Edo period (1603-1868). For example, the pagoda in Toji temple was donated by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the 3rd Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, to Toji temple. Thanks to its short history, Rurikoin is famous for “Yuka momiji”, rather than main hall or pagoda.

 Rurikoin, 瑠璃光院, means “A temple in light of lapis lazuli.” Lapis lazuli is one of seven colors stand for “Gokuraku jodo”, or “極楽浄土”, the paradise in the Buddhism. The Jodo school was named after the word. It is open to public in the short period of time in Spring and Fall.

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Yukamomiji of Rurikoin 瑠璃光院の床紅葉

瑠璃光院の瑠璃の庭

 Let me show you what “Yukamomiji” is. “Yuka” is a floor, and “momoji” is a maple (leaves). Yukamomiji means the way to admire a reflection of maple leaves on a floor. This is a peculiar way Japanese people take to enjoy something.

金戒光明寺の紅葉2018平等院鳳凰堂夜景

 For example, on spotting pond or river, we thirst for “Mizukagami”. In Mizukagami technique, we considre a surface of water as a mirror, we love to see a reflection on it. We are not interested in things in parallel. As I described in the article on Komyoin temple, we love some idea in the Zen Buddhism. The idea is “即今、当処、自己”. In this, the moment we are in is the most important. A surface of water is easy to roar with subtle breeze or a touch of a falling leaf. We can adore Mizukagami only in a moment when a water is calm. As a common Japanese goat, I believe that’s the reason why we long for Mizukagami.

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What to see in Rurikoin? 瑠璃光院のみどころ

Sanmon gate 三門

瑠璃光院山門瑠璃光院山門

  This is the entrance gate of Rurikoin. We’ll discuss about it later, we wait in front of the gate before we pass through it. Don’t worry, it is not boring to waiting there because the maple leaves gain our expectancy on the Yukamomiji inside.

Yamaroji no niwa garden 山露地の庭

瑠璃光院山露地の庭

 After the entrance gate, we find we are in Yamaroji no niwa garden located in front of the main entrance. “Yamaroji no niwa” means “The garden in mountain dew.”

瑠璃光院山露地の庭瑠璃光院山露地の庭

 In the garden, there is a stream surrounded by beautiful mosses. It reminds us that the temple we are entering used be an auberge.

八瀬の紅葉

 Voila! The autumn leaves in the Yase mountain!

Ichikishima hime
This is one of the most exquisite Autumn colors in Kyoto!

Syoin builiding 書院

瑠璃光院山露地の庭瑠璃光院山露地の庭

 The beautiful gardens belong to this Syoin building.

Ruri no niwa 瑠璃の庭 

Autumn in Ruri no niwa on the 2nd floor

瑠璃光院の瑠璃の庭瑠璃光院の瑠璃の庭

瑠璃光院の瑠璃の庭瑠璃光院の瑠璃の庭

 “Ruri no niwa” means “the garden of lapis lazuli.” It belongs to Shoin building and we admire it on the 2nd floor. I said Yukamomiji is a reflection on a floor but in Rurikoin, we enjoy a reflection on a surface of a polished glossy table.

瑠璃光院の床紅葉瑠璃光院の瑠璃の庭

瑠璃光院の床紅葉瑠璃光院の床紅葉

 The most stunning moment in Ruri no niwa arrives with twilight. In the room, we have no artificial lighting. Only the very last daylight of a day caresses us.

Yagimomo san
FANTASTIC! I love it!

The green maples in Ruri no niwa 瑠璃の庭の青もみじ

瑠璃光院の青もみじ瑠璃光院の青もみじ

瑠璃光院の青もみじ瑠璃光院の青もみじ

 These days, green maple lures many Kyoto enthusiasts. Ruri no niwa has one of the most amazing green maples in Kyoto.

ヒヒヒ
DO NOT MISS IT!

Autumn in Ruri no niwa on the 1st floor

瑠璃光院の瑠璃の庭瑠璃光院の瑠璃の庭

 Ruri no niwa of the 1st floor view.

瑠璃光院の掛け軸ラピスラズリ

 In the room on the 1st floor, we can see hand scrolls and paintings. In the 1st picture, we can see many bodhisattvas. This hand scroll is called “Rai ko zu”, or “来迎図.” These bodhisattvas are coming down to the earth to help people in suffer. The stone in the 2nd picture is Lapis lazuli. In some occasion, Macha is served in this room.

Garyo no niwa 臥龍の庭(がりょうのにわ)

瑠璃光院臥龍の庭

 ”Gary no niwa” means “the garden a dragon is laying down”. The small pond and rocks stand for a dragon ascending to heaven.

涅槃と地獄鳩摩羅什

 The relief work in the 1st picture is titled “The nirvana and the hell”. The bonze in the 2nd picture is Kumarajiva who translate “The Heart Sutra”, the most popular sutra in Japan, into ancient Chinese language. The Heart Sutra we adore today is the translation of his.

 The outstanding translation in the sutra is “色即是空 空即是色.” It reads “shiki soku zeku, ku soku ze siki” and means “nothing has its substance. The thing we call substance depends on us”. Let me show you an example.

ヤギ

When I bleat, how does it sound?

In English, “Baaah.”

In Japanese, “Meeeh.”

They sound different because my bleat has no substance. My bleat depends on us (or the language we use.)

Yagimomo san
The Buddhist teaching!

Ruri no niwa illuminated 瑠璃の庭のライトアップ

瑠璃光院ライトアップ瑠璃光院ライトアップ

瑠璃光院ライトアップ瑠璃光院ライトアップ

 We are on the 2nd floor again. Ruri no niwa is illuminated as same as other gardens. Illumination in some landmarks somtimes rough lighting but that of Ruri no niwa is nothing but tender and calm. We can enjoy the maple leaves take advantage of the pillars as frame.

瑠璃光院の瑠璃の庭瑠璃光院の瑠璃の庭

 We are back to the 1st floor again. The 2nd floor is usually crowded many people. On the other hand, the 1st floor is very quiet.

Ichikishima hime
DO NOT MISS IT!
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Steam bath 釜風呂

瑠璃光院の釜風呂

 The word “Yase” originally means “the arrow stuck in the back.” The name bases on a story of the Emperor Temnu; On his fight for regaining his throne, he narrowly escaped the enemy’s attack with arrows stuck in his back. He hide in a mountain we call Yasa today and he healed the wound in a steam bath there.

  Due to the story, Rurikoin has a steam bath. (Sorry, we don’t take it.)

 

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Let us copy Sutra! 写経体験

瑠璃光院写経セット

 At the entrance, we can have a plastic bag contains brochure, pen, and Sutra copy kit.

瑠璃光院写経セット

 On the 2nd floor, there is a room for copying sutra.

瑠璃光院写経セット

Never written Kanji? Don’t worry, all we have to do is just tracing the Kanjis. The sutra means the Buddha saves the people who believe in him and their lives will be fulfilled.

やぎももさん
We can bring it to our home!
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How to enter Rurikoin

 It is not easy to enter Rurikoin because we have lots of waiting time. The following is the way I took in the last fall.

1  At the blue alien, we buy an entrance ticket. The fee is 2,000 yen. On the ticket, the time we are supposed to be there.

2  By the time indicated on the ticket, we must be near ticket booth. On the indicated time, we form a row and walk to the blue alien.

3  At the blue alien, we wait in line for 20~30 minutes.

Attention: Rurikoin has many visitors and we might wait couples of hours. You better buy entrance ticket in the morning or couples of hours earlier than the time you want to be in the garden. Once you enter the building, you can stay there as long as you wanted by the time they close the temple.

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Opening schedule of 2018

From15th April to 15th June
 
Opening hours 10:00~17:00
 
Admission fee 2,000円
 
Website in English: Rurikoin offical website
 
 
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Access to Rurikoin

 10 minutes walk from Eiden Yase Hieizanguch station.

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