Showing posts with label koyo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label koyo. Show all posts

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Chikurin-in Temple Gunpoen Garden


The Gunpoen Garden at Chikurin-in Temple in Yoshino is, along with one of the gardens at Taimadera and the one at Jikoin, classed as one of the Three Great Gardens of Yamato, and while having an intriguing history is hardly known at all.

Yoshino, in the mountains of southern Nara, is and was a centre of Shugendo, the mountain-worshipping cult, but is now most famous for its cherry blossoms, although the Shugendo sites are part of a World Heritage Site.

The small temple of Chikurin-in is now somewhat overshadowed by its lodgings facility, technically a Shukubo, but in essence a ryokan.

Historically the temple was a lodging for Shugendo pilgrims, and it is said many very famous guests have stayed here, including Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Emperor Hirohito.

The temple claims to have been founded by Prince Shotoku which would mean late 6th or early 7th century and it was called  Chinzan Dera. A couple of centuries later Kukai visited and changed its name to Josen-ji.

In 1385 it was renamed Chikurin-in, and in the late 16th century was moved to its current location.

The garden, a stroll-type with a large pond, is said to have been originally designed by Sen no Rikyu, probably the most famous tea master of all, although one of his most important students, the renowned general Yusai Hosokawa, is thought to have done further work on the garden.

What is often mentioned in reference to the garden here is that several cherry trees play a prominent part in the design and that this is quite rare in standard Japanese garden design. When I visited in November, the cherry trees were bare but a few maples were in full colour.

A path leads up to high ground above the garden where there is an archery ground and great views over the Yoshino mountains, the grand Kinpusenji Temple, and the rest of the  town.

The temple was closed down in 1874 with the shiunbutsu bunri edicts but re-opened later as a Tendai sect temple. In 1948 it became a Shingon temple.

Chikurin-in is situated at roughly the boundary between the Naka Senbon area and the Kami Senbon area.

I'm sure that when the cherries are blossoming in the late Spring then the garden is delightful, but a glorious Autumn day was just fine for me. I was the only person in the garden.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Kannabiji Temple's Gingko

Kannabiji Temple's Gingko

Kannabiji Temple's Gingko.

It's that time of the year when I post some pics of this year's autumn colors. About three weeks ago Yoko had a day off that coincided with a beautiful sunny day so we headed off on a local trip to see if we could find some color. The first stop was Kannabiji Temple, a few kilometers upstream on the Gonokawa River.

The first stop was Kannabiji Temple, a few kilometers upstream on the Gonokawa River.

Kannabiji moved to its present site at the end of the 19th century. Formerly it was a large monastic complex on the mountainside that dated back to the Heian period.  About twenty years ago a friend took us on a bushwacking hike up to the old site where the foundation stones of the main hall still remained in a small clearing in the forest.

Kannabiji moved to its present site at the end of the 19th century.

At the end of the 16th century, many of the buildings burnt down. I suspect this was part of the Warring States conflicts but have not had that confirmed. The temple continued on its mountain site until the late 19th century. In 1872 a big earthquake closed the spring that supplied the temple with water, and in combination with having much of its land confiscated by the new Meiji government, it was decided to relocate the temple at the foot of the mountain.

At the end of the 16th century, many of the buildings burnt down.

All that remains now is the main hall, a large residence for the priest, a gate, and a large storehouse. I went inside the main hall many years ago and was surprised by a mural on the ceiling and the brightly-painted woodwork. I really want to go back and take a lot of photos. I've also been inside the old priest's house though he now lives in a newer house in front of the temple.

Gingko leaves.

The gate contains a fine pair of Nio guardians and is overshadowed by a large Gingko tree. We were a little early. In a few weeks, the whole temple will be carpeted in golden leaves. The storehouse holds the temple treasures, foremost of which is some samurai armour. Apparently, it is the third-oldest samurai armour still existing, and suggest how important the temple once was.

Main Hall of the temple.

Koinobori & Children's Day in Japan