Kamakura Zuisen-ji Temple in Autumn 鎌倉 瑞泉寺の秋

Zuisen-ji Temple

Priest Muso Soseki built this rock garden at Zuisen-ji Temple in Kamakura for his Zen practice, and it shows his strict and severe face. At the downfall of the Kamakura Period (1333), Muso Soseki opened the doors of the temple for all the wounded samurai and their families who escaped from the war. He and his followers took care of them, and the temple became much like a field hospital. Ten years later, he built more relaxing gardens in Kyoto, at Saiho-ji and Tenryu-ji Temple. see more photos


Kamakura Meigetsu-in Temple in June 6月の明月院


At Meigetsu-in Temple, the bluish-purple season comes in June. Not only blue hydrangea, but also various colors of noble iris in the back garden burst into bloom. This temple had a strong relationship with the Hojo clan during the Kamakura era. When the 5th regent of the Shogunate, Tokiyori, retired, he set up a hermitage and then later finished his life here. His grave is located to the left of the entrance. He must never have imagined that 760 years later, such huge numbers of people from all over the world would surge ahead to visit this small temple. see more photos


Kyoto Kibune Riverside Walk 新緑の貴船ウォーク


Kibune River is one of the original streams of Kamogawa River, which runs through central Kyoto. From May to September, the restaurants alongside the Kibune set up tables that extend out over the river (川床 Kawadoko) . It is a good way to enjoy the cool air and a delicious meal, while avoiding the hot humid summer. In the old days, a god descended upon the upper reaches of Kibune River at the exact Year, Month, Day, and Time of the Ox. In the Noh chant “鉄輪 Kanawa” a woman worshiped at nearby Kifune Shrine (same name as the river, but the pronunciation is different) for the purpose of placing a curse on her husband. But, contrary to popular belief, the god in this shrine was (and still is) responsive to all wishes, not only to curses. Today, Kifune Shrine has also become famous as a healing Power Spot. The shrine is a 30-minute walk from Kibune-guchi Station on the Eizan Tesudo Line. see more photos


Double-layered Gardens in Kyoto

Saiho-ji Temple Saiho-ji (Koke-dera) Temple

In 1339, Priest Muso Soseki designed and constructed a double-layered excursion garden in Saiho-ji Temple. It is still famous and admired today. The contrast between the elegant lower pond garden and the severe upper dry garden must have been quietly powerful. Almost 700 years have gone by, and the garden has changed completely. Now we can enjoy the charm of a garden that is covered with a beautiful moss carpet.
Because they greatly admired Muso Soseki and his work, people of power in the generations that followed modeled their own gardens on the double-layered garden of Saiho-ji. In this series, I would like to look at three special gardens in Kyoto and consider their beauty from the perspective of their use of space.

1339(延元4 /暦応2)年、夢窓疎石は西芳寺に、上下二段の構成を持つ庭を築造しました。下段の優雅な池泉回遊式庭園と上段の厳しい枯山水は、当時はすばらしい対比を見せていたことでしょう。700年近い歳月は、その庭を大きく変貌させました。今では美しい苔が一面を覆い、この庭の新たな魅力を引き出しているようです。

Click on the title you are interested in.

1 Saiho-ji Temple: Moss carpeted, Zen practice garden
2 Kinkaku-ji Temple: Shining golden pavilion and its spacious party garden
3 Ginkaku-ji Temple: Delicate silver pavilion and its moon-viewing garden

1 西芳寺:禅僧・夢窓疎石(1275-1351)が築庭した「苔に覆われた修禅の庭」
2 鹿苑寺金閣:足利義満(1358-1408)が監修した「金の楼閣と饗応の庭」
3 慈照寺銀閣:足利義政(1436-1490)が監修した「銀の楼閣と月見の庭」