Late Afternoon at Kyoto Shosei-en Garden

 Picture perfect.
 Shosei-en Garden doesn't seem to get as many visitors as it should. Located in the most culturally important city in Tokyo, within walking distance of the main train station, you'd think that the place would be crawling with tourists.
 But most of the major, important temples in Kyoto have gardens, some of them extremely beautiful, so going out of your way to see another collection of shrubs and trees around a pond is probably not that appealing to tourists.
 And at first, the gravel paths and small islands of plants don't look that breathtaking. On a day like the one I visited, the overcast sky certainly didn't help, and I was prepared to make it an "in and out" visit.
 But eventually you start to see some things that aren't as common, like a deck over the water.
 Sure, most gardens have rocks and trees at the water's edge, but these are arranged just as well.
 This garden comes with a little danger, too...
 That one bee will get you!
 I'm not sure if this tea house is in use anymore, given the single bee that seems to be holding it hostage.
 But I don't see very many buildings designed like this in gardens.

 While my visit didn't coincide with a lot of nice blossoms, the trees had various shades of leaves, adding a little life and variety to the mass of green.

 Most larger gardens have an island in their pond, and several are accessible, as is this one.
 There's another tea house, perched high on a hill.
 Kyoto Tower pokes its head up over the buildings and trees.

 Shosei-en has a nice covered wooden bridge.
 Due to the angle of the approach you can get a close-up look at the roof.
 Here (above and below) are some views on the bridge.

 On a day with perfect skies, I could probably spend hours here composing and taking photographs. Even with the approaching storm, I found some nice angles.

 I'm not sure which photo I like more, this one or the first one in this post. What do you think?
 Shosei-en may or may not be my favorite garden, but it ranks pretty high. If I hadn't been so tired and the skies hadn't been so cloudy, I probably would have enjoyed it even more. As you can see, grey skies may darken the park, but it doesn't steal all of its beauty.
Shosei-en is officially part of Higashi-Hongan-ji, a major temple located just north of Kyoto Station. The gardens themselves are located a few blocks east of the temple. They're open 9:00-16:00, and admission is 500 yen.

To get to the gardens from Kyoto Station, head north toward Higashi Honganji on the wide Karasuma Dori, past Kyoto Tower. You'll approach the temple on the left; you want to turn right down the first small side street after the street-side water fountain and pedestrian crosswalk in front of the very large temple gate. This street (Syomen Dori/Shomen Dori) leads directly to Shosei-en Garden's entry gate. It takes about 10 minutes from inside the station to the garden gate.

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