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Monday, October 31, 2011

Aqueduct at Nanzenji Temple

Aqueduct at Nanzenji南禅寺水路閣

Nanzenji Temple, which is in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto, was first an aristocrat's retirement villa. It then was turned into a temple following the death of the owner.

The Emperor Kameyama (1249-1305) built a detached palace here in 1264.

Today Nanzenji is one of the Five Great Zen Temples of Kyoto. It is moreover the headquarters of the Nanzenji branch of the Rinzai school of Zen.

Much of Nanzenji - like much of Kyoto - was destroyed during the 15th-century Onin Civil War.

Within the vast grounds of the temple complex is a much more recent structure that is perhaps equally beautiful and amazing: a 19th century aqueduct.

The red brick aqueduct was built in 1890.

The raised aqueduct is part of the Lake Biwa Canal. This was and is used to bring water from Lake Biwa to Kyoto (and which supplies to this day 97% of the city's water).

The aqueduct is 93 meters long, 4 meters wide, and 14 meters high.

Even now water flows along it at a rate of 2 tons per second.

The construction of the aqueduct alludes to the great structures of ancient Rome. Today the Suirokaku Canal is itself a destination within the grounds of Nanzenji Temple.


Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Tel: 075 771 0365

Hours: March-November: daily 8:40-5:00; December-February: daily 8:40-4:30
Fee: Main temple building: ¥400; San-mon or Nanzen-in: ¥200

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