Chishaku-in: a Kyoto garden of deep repose

Original text and photo – STEPHEN MANSFIELD

As a garden, Chishaku-in has many of the attributes of Japanese landscape design that should attract a good number of visitors. The fact that the temple in Kyoto’s southeastern Higashikawara-cho district is rarely crowded, and that scant attention is paid to it in guidebooks, is therefore somewhat surprising.

The site now occupied by Chishaku-in was once home to Shoun-ji, a temple the famed warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi built for his son, Sutemaru, who died in 1591 at the age of 3.

There is a touch of irony in the fact that another generalissimo, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) — the founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867) — placed Shoun-ji in the hands of the priests of Chishaku-in, a temple in Kii Province (present-day Wakayama Prefecture) that was torched to the ground by Hideyoshi’s forces in 1585. Being the headquarters of the Chizan school of Shingon Buddhism, Shoun-ji carries a certain authority.

Chishakuin

Photo: www.kyotoasanoxn.com

Some garden scholars have credited the original design of Chishaku-in to the revered personage of Sen-no-Rikyu (1522-91), but this claim is unsupported. Herbert Plutschow’s excellent book on the tea master, “Rediscovering Rikyu,” for example, makes no mention of any time he spent working on the garden. We do know, though, that Rikyu much admired the arrangement and doubtless enjoyed moments of quiet reflection in this pond-viewing garden, which was rebuilt in 1674 under the supervision of the priest Sosei.

Falls.Chishaku

Photo:www.learn.bowdoin.edu

With Kyoto fortunate to have been exempted from Allied bombing raids in World War II, many of the area’s gardens have survived. However, yet another irony attending Chishaku-in is the fact that both the temple buildings and garden were ravaged by fire in 1947 — two years after the war. Nonetheless, its outline and stone arrangements — the essential schemata for most Japanese landscapes — appear to have survived intact.

Read more via Chishaku-in: a Kyoto garden of deep repose | The Japan Times.

A world-class Japanese Garden in the Irish homeland

The Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens were created between 1906 and 1910 by Colonel William Hall Walker, a wealthy Scotsman from a famous brewing family with the help of Japanese master horticulturist Tassa Eida and his son Minoru. Through trees, plants, flowers, lawns, rocks and water, the gardens aim to symbolize the “Life of Man”. That plan was executed to perfection and Eida’s legacy is now admired by the 150,000 visitors who soak up the peace of the gardens every year.Very much representative of JIrish National StudVery much representative of Japanese gardens from the early 20th century, Eida’s work traces the journey of a soul from oblivion to eternity and portrays the human experience of its embodiment as it journeys by paths of its own choice through life. Birth, childhood, marriage, parenthood, old age, death and the afterlife are all brought to mind as the gardens, a seamless mixture of Eastern and Western cultures, are explored.

Eida left Tully in 1912 with 34 years passing before the gardens gained their next supervisor, Patrick Doyle, who remained in charge until 1972, since when the gardens have continued to flourish and surge in popularity.

Among the most loved of all Ireland’s gardens, the Irish National Stud’s Japanese Gardens are a veritable feast for the eye and ear with the sight and sound of trickling streams perfectly complementing the greenery and vivid colours that provide a tranquil backdrop to the beautiful Bridge of Life and Tea House.

Irish National Stud

The Japanese Gardens are a place for contemplation, meditation and reflection. Since they were first enjoyed more than 100 years ago, they have never failed to please.

via Visitors – Attractions – Europe’s Finest Japanese Gardens – Irish National Stud.

Huntington to expand Chinese Garden

Photo: Huntington.org

Spring seems only around the corner at Liu Fang Yuan, or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. Delicate pink cherry blossoms have begun to appear on trees, and dappled sunlight warms the stone walkways.

There are other changes in the air at the Chinese Garden, as it is more informally known. Workers are putting finishing touches on new pavilions, walkways and landscaping as the newest garden in the Huntington’s collection of more than a dozen readies its first expansion since its 2008 opening.

On March 8 (March 7 for members), the Chinese Garden premieres three major new architectural elements as part of its second-phase expansion: two pavilions and a rock grotto with a waterfall that visitors can walk under. Still to come for the planned 12-acre site are a small gallery for Chinese art, a hillside pavilion and a penjing (a style of horticulture similar to Japanese bonsai) court. About half the $22 million needed to complete the project has been raised so far.

via Chinese Garden expansion at the Huntington includes new pavilions – latimes.com.

Seattle Japanese Garden opens on March 1

Parkways » Seattle Japanese Garden celebrates Opening Day First Viewing

The Seattle Japanese Garden’s 2014 season opens on Saturday, March 1 with a celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. To ensure a wonderful season, Reverend Koichi Barrish of the Tsubaki Grand Shrine will honor the Japanese Garden with the traditional Shinto blessing at noon.

This 3 ½ acre formal garden evokes another time and place, a unique and artistic representation of nature influenced by Shinto, Buddhist, and Tao philosophies. Designed and built under the supervision of world-renowned Japanese garden designer Juko Iida in 1960, the garden is a quiet place, allowing reflection and meditation through the careful placement of water, garden plants, stones, waterfalls, trees and bridges.

Admission fees for First Viewing are: $10 for adults 18-64, $5 for youths 6–17, senior adults 65+, college students with ID, and people with disabilities, and free for kids younger than 6.

For free, the community is invited to enjoy the opening of a beautiful new photography exhibit “A Celebration of Spring”  from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Tateuchi Community Room.  The juried show also on March 1 celebrates nine photographers and their fantastic views of the Garden from a spring workshop in 2013.

The Japanese Garden offers monthly tea presentations and demonstration at the Tea House and other great community events during the March -November season when it is open to the public.

via Parkways » Seattle Japanese Garden celebrates Opening Day First Viewing.

Recommended reading: “The Gardener of Versailles” by Alain Baraton

Versailles head gardener and TV host Baraton reflects on his three decades tending some of the most beautiful gardens in the world.

Simply but thoroughly, the author narrates the history of Versailles, from the days of Henry IV sneaking off to these woods to hunt to the days of the revolution. The most surprising element is the speed with which an estate of such size was built. The gardens, on the other hand, sprung from the guiding hand of Louis XIV’s gardener, André Le Nôtre, but then took their own sweet time to flourish. Baraton importantly points out how people rush about on the Rue de Rivoli and other parts of Paris but then slow to a snail’s pace when they walk through gardens at Versailles. Gardens reach into your soul, writes the author, whether you plant them, harvest them or simply enjoy them. The author philosophizes about the ability of gardens to provide space for deep reflection, and he writes poetically about the beautiful power of the grounds he tends. He also provides some practical advice—e.g., the best places for a lovers’ tryst. The building and maintenance of the world’s grandest garden took the efforts and perspectives of a wide variety of great royal gardeners, including Claude Mollet and Jacques Boyceau, as well as builders like Louis Le Vau and Charles Le Brun. In addition to paying tribute to the work of these innovators, Baraton also looks at the various films that have been filmed on the grounds, storms that have battered them, and the effects of each season on the flora and fauna.

The descriptions of the various sites on the grounds could only come from a man fortunate enough to have lived on and loved the site for almost 40 years.

via THE GARDENER OF VERSAILLES by Alain Baraton, Christopher Brent Murray | Kirkus.

A Japanese garden in Corvallis, Oregon

 

Photo: http://www.gardenofgentlebreeze.com/

The world-famous Portland Japanese Garden is but the start of a North American Asian garden exploration in the Pacific Northwest. The area, so like Japan in climate and horticulture, is teeming with many hidden gems like the “Garden of Gentle Breeze,” a private haven located in the university town of Corvallis, Oregon.

Photo: http://www.gardenofgentlebreeze.com/

Photo:http://www.gardenofgentlebreeze.com/

Photo: http://www.gardenofgentlebreeze.com/

Photo: http://www.gardenofgentlebreeze.com/

From the website: “Garden of Gentle Breeze is a green oasis  crisscrossed by footpaths, three gentle  ponds with the soothing sounds of small waterfalls. The large boulders and stones  help us to feel grounded in the earth while above us and around us stand the towering firs, flowering shrubs and plants, all carefully placed to create a sanctuary of tranquility.The garden is a place of harmony that integrates the four elements–earth, air, water, and fire–and achieves a balance between Yin and Yang. As a wedding venue, it is a perfect place to begin one’s life journey with the one you love and a place that you can return to again and again for inspiration, rekindling fond memories and renewing your vows as the years go by.  Family and invited guests will always remember what a special and beautiful day they spent being part of your wedding.  They too can return to visit the gardens whenever they feel the need to relax and rejuvenate.”

via Garden of Gentle Breeze | Corvallis Japanese Garden in Oregon.

Stanford’s New Guinea Sculpture Garden celebrates 20 years

In 1994, ten master carvers were flown in from Papua New Guinea by anthropology department graduate student Jim Mason, and asked to engage their remarkably otherworldly work with one of our natural California landscapes. Over the course of their four month residency they created the sinuous carvings you can still see today in the aptly named Stanford New Guinea Sculpture Garden.

via Stanford’s New Guinea Scuplture Garden Celebrates 20 Years – Foliage Finder – Curbed SF.