Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Garden at Kozanji Temple


The garden at Kozanji Temple in Chofu, Yamaguchi, is neither well-known nor well-visited, though the temple itself and its grounds are usually crowded.

It's a large, Zen temple whose main hall is a National Treasure as it is one of the oldest Kara-yo buildings left in Japan. Kara-yo is the Chinese-influenced temple architecture that was introduced along with Zen in the 13th century and so is strongly associated with the Zen sects.

Kozanji is the 19th temple on the 33 temple Chugoku Kannon Pilgrimage, and that was the reason for my visit. While wandering the grounds I was approached by a priest who engaged me in conversation. Foreign visitors to the temple are certainly not rare, so maybe he was intrigued by my pilgrim jacket.

Anyway, it was he who suggested I seek out and visit the garden which is tucked away at the side of one of the main halls and seems to have been designed to be viewed from what I presume to be the abbots residence.

The garden has a pond as well as some shaped azalea bushes, lanterns, etc but was very shaded and primarily a moss garden. Less-manicured than most zen gardens, it was also very shaded.

Far more restrained than the huge Chofuteien stroll-type garden I had visited earlier that morning. Next up I head to the nearby Mori Mansion gardens