The area of Kyoto known as Nanzenji has the honor of being home to the famous Zen temple that gives it its name, as well as to the graceful brick aqueducts that carry water from Lake Biwa into the city. Before it was designated a temple in 1291, Nanzenji had been the site of the villa of the retired emperor Kameyama, 1249-1304.

Nestled in the shade of Hidashi-yama, the Eastern Hills, the temple and its environs are lush with greenery, private estates and several notable gardens, of which Murin’an is one a place of politics past and gracious early-twentieth-century living. And tucked into the hills behind the Nanzenji temple complex is one of Kyoto’s most charming shrines, Himukai Daijingu.