Chishaku-in Temple Garden

  • AddressHigashikawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City
  • Style

    Pond garden

  • Outline of garden

    Address : Higashikawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City

    Telephone : +81-(0)75- 541-5361

    Period of garden construction : The early Edo period

    Garden designer : Unsho

    Garden style : Pond garden

    Site area : 3,472.65 m2 (Designated area of cultural property)

    Public openness : Open (Charged)


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    Chishaku-in Temple, the grand head temple of the Shingon Shu (Sect) Chisan-ha (School) of Buddhism, is a large temple complex with high earthen walls standing on old stone bases near to Shichijo Street. This temple was built on the old site of Shounzen-ji Temple established by TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi (1536-1598).


    Photo-1. Chishaku-in Temple precinct surrounded by high earthen walls.JPGのサムネイル画像

    Photo-1. Chishaku-in Temple precinct surrounded by high earthen walls


    Photo-2. A courtyard between Kodo hall and other buildings.JPGのサムネイル画像

    Photo-2. A courtyard between Kodo hall and other buildings


    Photo-3. Wooden veranda with overhanging wide eaves facing to courtyards.JPGのサムネイル画像

    Photo-3. Wooden veranda with overhanging wide eaves facing to courtyards


    At the time of the restoration of Chishaku-in Temple, the 7th-generation chief priest Unsho completed the garden in 1674 and since that time it has been praised as the best garden in the Higashiyama area. The garden was designated a National Place of Scenic Beauty in 1945 for the historically preserved condition of the landscape design and maintaining the style of the early Edo period.


    Photo-4. Main garden and Kodo hall.JPGのサムネイル画像

    Photo-4. Main garden and Kodo hall


    Photo-5. A contrast between round-shaped planting and linear path and wooden veranda.JPGのサムネイル画像

    Photo-5. A contrast between round-shaped planting and linear path and wooden veranda


    The great Shoin hall faces the main garden, with its projecting veranda standing over the pond. There is an artificial hill (Tsukiyama) with round- and square-shaped rhododendrons and crepe myrtle and maple trees planted, behind the pond stretching from south to north.


    Photo-6. South side of pond garden viewed from the great Shoin hall.JPGのサムネイル画像

    Photo-6. South side of pond garden viewed from the great Shoin hall


    Photo-7. North side of pond garden viewed from the great Shoin hall.JPGのサムネイル画像

    Photo-7. North side of pond garden viewed from the great Shoin hall


    The great Shoin hall enjoys a superb view of the garden in every season. It is particularly noteworthy when the rhododendrons flower in spring and the maple leaves change color in the fall. The garden is based on a hill that uses the area's original natural topography. The scenery creates the atmosphere of "Shinzan-yukoku," which means the garden is aesthetically reminiscent of a place in deep mountains and valleys. This is due to the way in which the rocks of a waterfall and at the mouth of the fall have been skillfully arranged in a perfect and beautiful balance.


    Photo-8. Artificial hill with trimmed rhododendrons and skillful stone arrangement.JPGのサムネイル画像

    Photo-8. Artificial hill with trimmed rhododendrons and skillful stone arrangement


    The scenery of the garden has retained its original appearance ever since its construction, as shown by the fact that the elements seen today, including the stone bridge over the pond, are almost exactly the same as those depicted in the painting of the Edo period. Ingenuity in landscape design can be found at every position; for example, the veranda of the Shoin hall standing over the surface of the water.


    Photo-9. Flat stone bridge over the pond depicted in the painting of the Edo period.JPGのサムネイル画像

    Photo-9. Flat stone bridge over the pond depicted in the painting of the Edo period


    The Chishaku-in Temple is home to some beautiful wall paintings from the guest hall of the old Shounzen-ji Temple. Designated as National Treasure, they were painted by HASEGAWA Tohaku and his school members in the Azuchi-Momoyama period (in the latter half of the 16th century).

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