Kyoto Garden Tour 2013 & 2014 Fall

Allan Mandell, the garden photographer organized the special garden tours between 17th and 25th November 2013 and 17th and 23rd November 2014.  The participants were mostly the garden designers from Portland USA and Victoria Canada. 


Here was the schedule of the tour attended by the certified garden guide Ayumi IKUSHIMA

Sunday: Arriving day for staying the temple inn in the Myoshin-ji Zen temple complex.

Monday:  Stoll around beautiful area called Arashiyama (West of Kyoto) visiting Gio-temple, Tenryu-ji temple and Okochi-sanso. Welcome dinner was held with a talk of Kyoto ambassador, Judith Clancy.

Tuesday:  Visit Ichijo-ji area (North East of Kyoto) appreciating gardens in Shisendo, Enko-ji and Manshu-in.  In the afternoon visit Shinnyo-do and then Konkai-komyo-ji (Kurodani) for having a special seminar by the president of Kato garden company.

Wednesday:  Bus excursion to Shiga prefecture visiting Miho museum and Shigaraki ceramic town.  In shigaraki the potter family welcomed showing their galleries and atelier.

Thursday:  Visit Daitoku-ji Zen temple complex where you can visit beautiful gardens in sub-temples such as Koto-in, Daisen-in and Ryogen-in.  In the afternoon, back to the city-center for having Ikebana (Landscape style) lesson.  Then Special seminar by the garden designer, Chisao Shigemori.

22nd Friday:   Free day

23rd Saturday:  Visit Tofuku-ji Zen temple complex for appreciating the gardens in Renun-in, Hojo, Ryogin-an, Komyo-in and attend tea ceremony lesson.  In the afternoon visit Sake brewery and Inari shrine where you can find 1000 Tori gates. 

24th Sunday:  Free day  Bonsai exhibition was held in Miyako Messe.  Sayonara dinner at Kushikura restaurant.





Get to know the special garden people

Special lectures by garden specialits were given to this tour.

Here are the explanation about the lectures participants expereienced in Kyoto









Garden designer (his garden works at Shinnyo-do, Matuo-Shrine Zuisyouden etc.)

Chairman of the corporation "Shigemori garden design laboratory "

Landscape design and garden teacher of several universities and schools such as Kyoto Institute of Technology and Bukkyo University

Writer of several Japanese garden books.

His grandfather was also the famous garden designer Mirei Shigemori (Hojo in Toufukuji-temple),


Using his computer which contains thousands of garden pictures and videos, Mr. Chisao Shigemori started his lecture.  he explained how to design his gardens with the pictures from the beginning to the completion and also how to appreciate his grandfather, Mirei Shigemori’s gardens.  The participants appreciated the information they got just before visiting special gardens such as 4 gardens in Hojo Tofuku-ji because they could deeply understand the concepts and procedures on the site.  He also explained how to rake the white gravels in dry gardens for making some complicated patterns without tracing footsteps.  During the Q&A time many participants posed questions for example the significances of the patterns of raked gravels.  That was the only one hour seminar but they seemed quite happy to have such an opportunity to get to know the garden expert.

The beauty of the Japanese garden





Tomoki KATO


The 8th generation from Kichibei Kato, the founder of Ueya, who became a dedicated gardener of Nanzen-ji Zen temple complex.

Ph D and the president of UEYAKATO Landscape Co. LTD.

This company’s commitment includes the maintenance and management of gardens designated as historical sites and scenic beauties as same as the constructions of large-scale gardens such as Keihanna pubic park.

With his staffs he invited us to come to one of their working places in Konkai Komyo temple (people called this temple “Kurodani”). He explained how the part of garden was newly created and also how to maintain this whole garden throughout year. Technically the most difficult part of maintenance is how to prune the pine trees. You have to imagine how they  grow and use the hands to take off unnecessary leaves. The participants were really interested in the subject, therefore they demostrated how to prune usig one pine tree there.  Rock replacements and vegitations are the fundamental elements for understanding Japanee gardens. 


Upcoming Kyoto Garden Tour Spring and Fall 2015

We are planning further tours, the same type of tour in 2015 Fall and newly organized special tour in 2015 Spring (May).  Please visit our web-sites and contact us


2015 Kyoto Garden Tours


Allan Mandell (Professional garden photographer)



Ayumi IKUSHIMA (Ceritifed Japanese garden guide)

Windwos to Japan