June 18, 2024

Pond garden: Chishaku-in Temple (Kyoto)

Pond garden: Chishaku-in Temple (Kyoto)

The first time in half a year, I visited Kyoto just after the lively Hanami (cherry‐blossom viewing) season. 

Chishaku-in Temple is the head temple complex of the Chizan School of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism, which is located in Higashi-yama (eastern mountain) district of Kyoto.

This tranquil pond garden, that is beautifully composed of an artificial mountain, stone arrangements, and a deep-green winding pond, is said to represent the mystical landscape of Mount Lushan and the Yangtze River in China. 

The Chozubachi (stone washbasin) placed on the edge of the eaves modestly emphasizes the refined perspective of this mountain-and-water landscape.

This garden in front of the Hojyo (large study hall) has been designated as one of the gardens of scenic beauty which Sen-no-Rikyu is said to have been particularly fond. Sen-no-Rikyu is known as the founder of Wabi-cha (hermitage tea ceremony) and is called the greatest tea saint.

This tasteful landscape takes advantage of the topography of the slope at the foot of the Higashi-yama of Kyoto. 

The various greeneries and flowers, which are changing ceaselessly at every season, keep adorning this miniature landscape surrounded by the mirror-like surface of the water, which must symbolically reflect the ever-changing aspects of nature and the timeless flux of our human minds.

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