It was rainy in the morning , a little cooler to wear short sleeves.
Shinsen-en is the small temple on the south of Nijo-castle in Kyoto. Since Nijo-castle is the big famous sightseeing spot, we tend to miss this temple.
But I think Shinsen-en is more beautiful on the sunny day, where we can feel Japanese noble culture flourished in the middle of Heian period (794-1192).
Alone in the rainy day
When I went to Shinsen-en around 9 in the morning, only people for the maintenance of the pond were there. No other visitors or tourists were there, so it was quiet atmosphere.
Some beautiful hydrangea around the pond welcomed me.
A gorgeous boat, from which we imagine the noblemen had made a short poem or played Japanese instruments, was floating on the silent pond. It must be more beautiful and gorgeous on the festival day.
The biggest festival for Shinsen-en is around May 2-4, the national holidays in Japan. The Japanese instruments called “Gagaku” will be played on this boat on the festival day.
Wedding ceremony is often held in Shinsen-en
Japanese wedding is often held in Shinsen-en temple. I have seen the photo a woman wearing Ju-ni hitoe (kimono for noble family) standing on this beautiful bridge.
It seems like the real noblemen in Heian period.
The birthplace of Gion festival in Kyoto
Although the big gorgeous yama & hoko started to be built after the Kyoto citizen became richer around Nanboku-cho perior (1336-1392), the origin of this big festival goes back to the prayer meeting of Shinsen-en in 863, when the epidemic had ravaged Kyoto city.
In 869, 66 Yama&hoko (float mounted with a decorative halberd), the same number as the prefecture in Japan in those days, were displayed as the wish for the dispersion of plague in Shinsen-en. It’s the origin of Gion festival.
Shinsen-en is not so famous compared to the main area for Gion festival (Shijo or Sanjo street) nowadays, but actually, it’s the birthplace of the big festival. Even now one of the Mikoshi (portable shrine) for Gion festival is brought from Shinsen-en in July 24th.
Maybe you can’t imagine from this silent rainy picture, but it’ll be busy and bustling next month.