Showing posts with label rinzai. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rinzai. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Gokurakuji Temple Kinosaki


Gokurakuji Temle is a Rinzai Zen temple tucked away down a back lane in Kinosaki Onsen and is hardly visited by most visitors to the town.

In front of the main gate is a hillside rock garden dotted with statues and a pond with what I presume is a Benzaiten Shrine.

The temple dates back to around the beginning of the 15th century, but fell into disuse and was revived in the early 17th century by the Zen monk known as Takuan after the pickle he is said to have invented.

He resided for some years at Sukyoji Temple in the nearby castle town of Izushi and is said to have been a frequent visitor to Kinosaki's onsens.

On the hillside just above the temple is a Rakuju Kannon statue that I didn't visit, but the rock garden in front of the main gate has several other Kannon statues as well as a Fdo and a Jizo.

The main hall is registered as an Important Cultural property even though it was built in 1921, it seems quite elegant. The main gate is also registered and dates back to the late 17th century.

The water in the Tsukubai basin is piped from a sacred spring behind the temple famed for its healing qualities and said to have been discovered by the monk who discovered the hot spring and founded the nearby Onsenji Temple.

The jewel in the crown of the temple though is the Seikantei "dry" garden which features sections of both black gravel and white gravel .

 The honzon of the temple is an Amida Nyorai, and there is also a Koshin-do in the grounds (photo below)

The previous post was on the magnificent Seikantei Garden. Also nearby is Onsenji Temple

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 28, 2023

Sukyoji Temple Gardens

Sukyoji Temple Gardens

Sukyoji is a Rinzai Zen temple located in Izushi castle town and was founded in 1392.

The temple is often called Takuan Dera after the famous monk Takuan Soho who was born in Izushi in 1573. Later in life, he returned to Isushi and stayed at Sukyoji for 8 years. He was very influential in bringing a zen influence to various schools of swordsmanship.

He is credited with designing several of the gardens at Sukyoji, but is more famous for being the creator of the daikon pickles, takuan, named after him.

The temple has a Rock Garden, Crane & Turtle Garden, Moss Garden, and  Heart Pond Garden.

It is said that Takuan designed the Crane Turtle garden and the Shinjioike Garden ( pond in the shape of the Chinese character for heart)

In the photo above the building behind the Shinjioike is the Toenken, the hermitage where Takuan stayed for 8 years and where he is said to have created his namesake pickle.

The Crane & Turtle Garden by Takuan Soho is a National Important Cultutral property.

The rock garden viewed from inside the temple.

Later I will post more on the temple and takuan Soho.

These last three images were taken on my second visit, in the winter.

The previous post in the series is the Eirakukan Kabuki Theatre.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Bairinji Gaien the Outer Temple Garden


The Gaien is the outer gardens of Bairinji Temple in Kurume. Mostly situated to the north of the temple along the bank of the Chikugo River.

In 1958 the temple gave it to the city asa public park. It is most famous for more than 500 Plum trees of about 30 different species, asa well as azaleas. I visited in late December so there wee no plum blossoms ready yet.

As the first photo shows, there was evidence of maple trees, and the last photo shows evidence of Gingko, so there must have been some nice autumn colors a month or so before.

Even without the seasonal displays, I found the gardens nice to visit.

The buildings inside the walls seem to be closed to the pub;ic, but there still remains some zen gardens in the outer garden.

A previous post with details of the temple and its history can be found here.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Bairinji Zen Temple


Bairinji Zen Temple.

Situated on the bank of the Chikugo River in Kurume, Fukuoka, Bairinji is a long established temple of the Rinzai sect that I would call a monastery as many Buddhist monks, priests, and laypeople come here for training .

Bairinji Zen Temple.

The temple originated in Fukuchiyama, northern Kyoto, and was named Zuiganji. It was moved to Kurume in the early 17th century by Toyoji Arima after he was given the Kurume Domain for his part in the battle of Sekigahara.

Bairinji Zen Temple

Zuiganji was where his father had been buried and the remains were also brought along so the temple could continue to be the family temple.

It was renamed Barinji after the posthumous name of his father. The cemetery contains the tombs of  the Arima famiy.

There seems to be some fine buildings, but the gates to most of them were closed. Some of the fates had some fine carvings. The temple is apparently home to many treasures..... but seems ,ostly closed to visitors.

However, the larger "outer" garden of the temple was made into a public park, and to this I return in the next post...

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