GARDEN Chisen Kaiyushiki Teien

Scenes reflected on the water surfaces

Text: Yasuko Yuzuhara

The Japanese garden is a miniature world of the great nature, the pond, the trees and mountain. The surface of a pond will ripple out the rhythmical rain drops and also the limited sunlights during this rainy season. How luxurious would a time be spent in such a perfect garden.

I visited some Chisen Kaiyushiki Teiens in June when summer was catching up more and more heat. Chisen Kaiyushiki Teien is a type of Japanese garden that is made to stroll around and to take an excursion of many different scenes. First was to Sogenchi Teien Garden inside Tenryu-ji Temple in Arashiyama area where many loyal family had placed a holiday houses to cherish the beautiful nature.

Tenryuji Zen Temple had been founded by Takauji Ashikaga (1305-1358, founder and first shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate) and had placed Musou Soseki as the first chief priest. Musou Soseki had built some famous gardens including this Sogenchi and Kokedera (moss temple) of Saiho-ji Temple. 

Oohojo building will be a good start to stroll through the garden. Sitting in front of the pond you can see the stones. This rocks are called the 'ryumonbaku' representing a waterfall that a carp fish turning into a dragon after climbing up a waterfall in an old saying. The huge rocks is laid out in such a manner that it seems like a real waterfall gushing down. Looking up behind the rocks, there are dynamic presence of the mountains of Arashiyama on the left and Kameyama on the right. 

Moving to the shoin (library) building, the garden will show a totally different look. An elegant sand area appears from this angle, with a wider view of the sky.

There had once been a detached palace of Gosaga Kameyama Emperor. Musou Soseki had renovated the palace into new garden leaving that elegant loyal atmosphere. The grand scene of Arashiyama shall be worth visiting in any weather, rain or sunny. 

Another famous garden is Hakusasonso's Hashimoto Kansetsu Garden & Museum. Hashimoto Kansetsu, a modern Japanese painter, had built his home and atelier in a rice paddy field. The garden full of great stone collection has 3 ponds and a tea ceremony room. 

Stepping inside from a busy Imadegawa-dori Street, the path will take you to a quiet world surrounded by trees and water. Behind the Fuyouchi pond represent a great sea, there is Kansetsu's atelier Zonkorou. A stone bridge will take you to number of tea ceremony rooms, which is not open for public, but one can always go close and imagine how the harmonious view would be from inside.  

Higashiyama Daimonji can be seen from the terrace space on the 2nd floor of Hashimoto Kansetsu Museum. The Gozan Okuribi fire can be seen from Zonkorou atelier, with the character of 'dai' (part of Daimonji) to be reflected on the surface of Fuyouchi pond. The garden shows how much affection Kansetsu had towards the Higashiyama Daimonji view.

Kansetsu Zakura is another masterpiece by Kansetsu. It is the sakura trees planted along the Philosopher's Walk colors the path pink in spring. The visitors can enjoy this epilogue, too.

<Tenryu-ji Temple>
ADDRESS: 68 Saga Tenryuji Susukinobaba-chō, Ukyō-ku, Kyoto (map)
HOURS: 8:30-17:30 (Closes at 17:00 during October 21-March 20)
PHONE: +81(0)75-881-1235
ENTRANCE FEE: Garden 500 yen, Other buildings additional 100 yen each, sermon hall additional 500 yen

 <Hakusasonso Hashimoto Kansetsu Garden & Museum>
ADDRESS 37 Jodojiishibashi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto (map)
HOURS: 10:00-17:00 (Last admission 16:30)
PHONE: +81(0)75-751-0446
ENTRANCE FEE: Garden: Adult 800 yen, junior high school and above 500 yen Museum: junior high school and above 500 yen
*No charge for elementary school and under
** Charge may differ according to special exhibitions