Showing posts with label karesansui. Show all posts
Showing posts with label karesansui. Show all posts

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Seikantei Garden Kinosaki


Gokurakuji Temple is hidden away in a corner of Kinosaki Onsen and is barely visited by the majority of visitors to the resort town, who will miss a quite remarkable garden.

Called Seikan Tei, it is a karesansui, "dry garden" most often associated with Zen, and Gokurakuji is a Rinzai Zen temple.

It is somewhat unusual in that the garden is in front of the main hall and the entrance pathway cuts right through it. many of the traditional gardens were built to be viewed from the rear of the main hall or from the Abbot's residence.

The most unusual thing, to my mind, was that one half of the garden used areas of white gravel and dark gravel, something I don't remember noticing before.

The light and dark areas are separated by a border made of roof tiles set vertically, something that is quite common.

Actually the light areas inside the dark ground form the Chinese character for kokoro, "heart". This is sometimes the shape of ponds.

The rock and moss "islands" in the sea of gravel  also use standard design representations, there being a Crame Island, a Turtle Island, a Three Buddhas Island.....

The garden uses a red rock brought from Kurama, a blue rock from Yoshino, and Shirakawa sand from Kyoto.

 I have been unable to establish when the garden was built. Most sources suggest it is fairly modern and a photo of it dates to 1976.

One source suggests it was designed by a disciple of Mirei Shigemori.

Entry is free, so if you are in the area it would be well worth a visit.

Later I will post on the temple and its history and the nice rock garden in front of it.

The previous post in this series on Toyooka was on the lower part of nearby Onsenji Temple.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Gardens at Gokuraku-ji Temple

zen garden
Karesansui style Zen garden at Gokurakuji Temple in Kinosaki Onsen
Gokurakuji Temple, in a back street of the popular hot spring resort of Kinosaki Onsen, has some nice, small gardens, one of which is quite unusual.

zen garden panorama
Panoramic view of the gardens at Gokurakuji Temple in Kinosaki
Outside the temple gate is a small hillside garden with miniature waterfalls and a lot of statuary, but inside the gate the whole courtyard is given over to 2 karesansui dry gardens.

karesansui with 2 color gravel
Unusual 2 color raked gravel in the garden at Gokurakuji Temple
One of the gardens has raked gravel of two different colors, white, and grey, with theb two being separated by rooftiles set vertically. I can't remember ever having seen the two colors before like this, though using rooftiles to separate sections is fairly common in many types of garden.

Paths extend between the two gardens so they can be viewed from many different angles. The temple also offers zazen classes followed by green tea while viewing the gardens from inside the temple.

801 Kinosakicho Yushhima, Toyooka-shi, Hyogo 669-6101
Tel: 0796 32 2326

Friday, January 3, 2020

Raked Gravel and Rock

Raked Gravel and Rock

Raked Gravel and Rock.

Considered quintessentially Japanese, gardens with raked gravel and rock are ubiquitous in Japan. Generally called "karesansui" they are often known in English as "Dry Gardens". Heavily associated with Zen, they are found not just in Zen temples but almost anywhere, secular or sacred.

Great gravel.

The first photo is from Kanyoji Temple in the mountains of Yamaguchi Prefecture. I believe it was designed by Mirei Shigemori, one of the great garden designers of the 20th Century. The second photo is from the Yuushien Gardens on Daikon Island in the Nakaumi Lagoon between Shimane and Tottori. An excellent garden well worth a visit.

Rock on.

This third one is within the entrance area to a hot spring resort in the Okuizumo area of Shimane.

There is no shortage of karesansui gardens in Kyoto, but this 4th photo shows one of the lesser known ones. It is in front of the main hall of Shogo-in, a monzeki temple, which means it was home to a member of the imperial family.

Dry Garden.

This last one is also not such a well known garden, bgut also one that is well worth a visit. It is in the grounds of the ruins of Tokushima Castle and was part of the palace there.

Rock garden.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Garden at Myokanji

I came to an appreciation of the Japanese garden quite late. The first two years I lived in Japan I was in Kyoto which reputedly has a large number of highly ranked gardens, but I didnt visit any of them.

Like many people, I think my favorite style is karesansui, the dry gardens of rock and sand.

This one is at Myokani, a small temple in Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture, and doesnt appear in any lists of gardens to see, but I found it quite appealing.

Karesansui is strongly associated with Zen, though I believe they were imported from China a little before Zen and the use of white gravel has been attributed to a Shinto influence. Myokanji is not a Zen temple, rather a Shingon one, but it may have been Zen in earlier times though I have been unable to find a date for the garden.