Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Gardens at Kennin-Ji Temple

Kennin-ji in Gion was the first Zen temple established in Kyoto in 1202. My wife grew up in a house literally next door to the temple so I visited it often. The Chouontei garden is quite well known and features the classic triad of central stones.

Another famous garden in the temple is the Circle-Triangle-Square garden, but I don't show any photos of it in this post.

Seeing is not a passive act. Though we can grasp a scene in a single glimpse, mostly we "read" a scene or a garden. Our eyes move around from point to point and are drawn to specific points and aspects. An artist, or a garden designer, will instinctively know this as part of the process.

I take photos of things my eyes are drawn to. A simple enough thing to say, but less easy to explain.

"God is in the details" is a well-known quote with multiple possible meanings, but if God is truth, and truth is beauty, both two statements that are arguable but which I tend to agree with, then my eyes are drawn to beauty and this is what I attempt to capture with my camera.


  1. Brilliant as ever. Thank you.

  2. Like minded photographer life enriching I always look forward to your mail.

  3. I took a course on photo judging where, like your garden designers, we are also taught that seeing a photograph is not passive. Fascinating post Jake, thanks.