Gessho-ji was the family temple of the Matsudaira family who once ruled the city, and the graves of 9 generations of the clan are located in the grounds. The temple is surrounded by woodland, and each grave is set in a large precinct, protected by gates with exquisite carvings.
The temple was built in 1664 (before when another temple was said to have stood here). The gate in front of the 7th Lord’s grave (Fumai – the tea ceremony master), was carved by the famous carpenter Kobayashi Jotei. (He was also a friend of Fumai and very fond of a drink, or so the story goes).
In the grounds there is a huge stone turtle with a stone pole on its back. It is said that it used to wander around the city after nightfall, and so the residents drove the pole into its shell to keep it in place.
At the back of the tea room next to the temple itself is a traditional Japanese garden, and sitting on the veranda looking out over the pond and trees is a nice way to spend an afternoon.
Opening Times: April – October 8:30am – 5:30pm, November – March 8:30am – 5:00pm.
Admission: 500 yen.
Green Tea (optional): 400 yen.
Getting There: Take the Lakeline retro bus from stop no. 7 at Matsue Station and get off at Gessho-ji Temple.