Nakatsu Bansho-en is a wonderful daimyo garden located on the beach at the river mouth of the Kanakura River, which runs through Marugame City, Kagawa Prefecture. It was built in 1688 by the 2nd lord of the Marugame domain, Kyogoku Takatoyo as a villa called “Nakatsu Bekkan”
There are about 1,500 pine trees including a 600-yea-old large stone pine. With 8 islets respectively named “Sail,” “Goose,” “Snow,” “Rain,” “Mist on a Fine Day,” “Moon,” and “the Evening Glow” set out in the pond, this strolling garden was constructed to emulate the Eight Fine Views in Omi (present-day Shiga Prefecture), which was the hometown of the Kyogoku family.
There are the main house and the tea house by the pond. In the garden are also Marugame Museum, where paintings of the Barbizon School and Japanese-style paintings are exhibited, Porcelain Center of the 13th century pottery works, and Hiina Doll House, where hina-dolls, combs and Japanese hair pins are displayed.
Rinnoji Temple in Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect of Buddhism It was founded in Somekawa in present Fukushima Prefecture in 1441 by Date Mochimune, the 11th head of the Date clan, to respond to the plea by the nun Rantei Meigyoku, the wife of the late 9th head.
Rinnoji Temple is famous for its beautiful Japanese garden named “Rinnoji Zen Garden.” It is a pond stroll garden, which is said to be one of the most wonderful gardens in the Tohoku district. The garden was designed by the priest Fukusada Mugai (1881-1943), who restored the temple after it had declined in the Meiji period.
The pond with the backdrop of red pine and cedar trees reflect the images of weeping cherry blossoms and the three-story pagoda in the middle of April. White and violet flowers of Japanese irises in late June are especially impressive. Walking across bridges over the pond to view the scenery that changes by season, you will have a really relaxing time.
Okhotsk Garden is a part of Monbetsu Park located in the central part of Monbetsu City, Hokkaido. The landmark of the park is an observatory for draft ice, from which you can command a panoramic view of the Sea of Okhotsk. In contrast to Monbetsu Park with open environment, Okhotsk Garden has a taste of a traditional Japanese garden with three artificial waterfalls, which flow down on the rocky cliffs. Walking through the grove of trees, you will loose sense of time in the gentle sounds of tremulous leaves. A lot of visitors come to enjoy natural beauty that changes from season to season; cherry blossom viewing in spring, the cool evening breeze in summer, and the crimson foliage in autumn. The garden is counted as one of 8 Fine Views in Monbetsu.
Rinnoji Temple in Aoba-ku, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect of Buddhism It was founded in Somekawa in present Fukushima Prefecture in 1441 by Date Mochimune, the 11th head of the Date clan, to respond to the plea for constructing a family temple, which had been made by the nun Rantei Meigyoku, the wife of the late 9th head.
In the later periods, when the Date clan relocated their main castle to Yonezawa, Aizu and Iwateyama, the temple was also relocated to the new capital. In 1602, Date Masamune, the 17th head of the family and the founder of the Sendai domain, relocated the temple to the present place in Sendai. In 1876, the temple buildings except the Niomon Gate, a designated National Important Cultural Property, were burned down in a spreading fire from the nearby field. The buildings were restored in the later period.
Rinnoji Temple is famous for its beautiful Japanese garden named “Rinnoji Zen Garden.” It is a pond stroll garden, which is said to be the most wonderful garden in the city. Japanese irises produce beautiful white and violet flowers in late June. Walking across bridges over the pond to view the scenery of the well-kept garden, you will have a really relaxing time.
Old Daijoin Garden consists of the traces of a garden at Daijoin Temple in Nara Prefecture.
In the first year of the Kanji period (1087), Daijoin was built as a Monzeki temple of Kofukuji, one of the seven major Nanto temples. In the fourth year of the Jisho period (1180), it was burnt down during the attack on Nara by Taira-no-Shigehira. It was subsequently renovated at its present place. In the third year of the Hotoku period (1451), it was burnt down again, but Jinson, a monk of Daijoin, rebuilt it and it was Zeami who made a garden at that time.
Daijoin Garden remained as the best garden in Nanto until the end of the Edo period. In the Meiji period, because of the government's oppression of Buddhism, it disappeared. In 1909, the site was reused as part of the Nara Hotel.
Now, the garden is being renovated and you can see some parts of it at the Daijoin Garden Museum, to the south of the garden.
When Mori Nagatsugu, the second clan lord of Tsuyama, founded Shuraku Garden, he invited a landscape gardener from Kyoto to design it.
Shuraku Garden is a pond cloister style garden created between 1655 and 1658. The garden was modeled on the Sento Imperial Palace in Kyoto. The lake portrays the sea and, with its view of islands, its reflection of islands in the lake and the seasonal beautiful sights, it has a Kyoto-style sophistication.
At the time of its creation, it covered some 75900㎡, which is about three times more than its present site. It was originally used as a leisure garden for the clan lord. Apparently, the Tsuyama clan did not invite outsiders into the castle, for security reasons, but did allow them into the garden; thus it was called 'place for encounters'.
The garden changes color in spring with the cherry blossoms and in autumn with the fall foliage, always creating something interesting for the visitor's eyes.
Located inside the grounds of the garden of Kenrokuen, Seisonkaku Villa was built in 1863. It was originally named 'Tatsumi-goten' and was built by the 13th lord of the Kaga Domain, Nariyasu Maeda, as a retreat for his mother Takako (wife of the 12th lord Narinaga Maeda).
Seisonkaku Villa is located in the southeast section ('tatsumi') of Kanazawa Castle, hence its original name Tatsumi-goten. Additionally, the name derives from the Tatsumiden built by the Takatsuka clan in Kyoto.
The building is two storeys high, with the first floor built in Shoin-style architecture and the second floor in Sukiya-style architecture. It is designated as an Important National Cultural Asset and is also a representative example of late-Edo architecture.
The elegant interior decoration indicates great consideration by the architect. Instead of walls made of earthen elements, paper is used flamboyantly, along with crimson lacquer for the first floor. On top of this, mica and gold are used for designs and ornaments. On the whole, rich decoration is a dominant characteristic of Seisonkaku Villa.
Tobizuruen, the garden of the villa, is also designated as a national scenic spot. Seisonkaku Villa is currently a historical museum.
Honen-in is a temple located in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. In the early Edo period, in 1680, Banbu Shonin of Chio-in conceived the construction of this temple in memory of Hone Shonin. Banbu's disciple, Nincho Osho, carried out its construction.
The temple stands deep in the mountains behind a gate. In a word, it is 'simple'. But once you enter the temple, you will feel a taste and elegance quite different from the outside. After passing through the gate, rectangular sandhills called 'White Sand Dan' will appear on either side. There is a narrow path between them. 'Suna Dan' stands for 'water', so you will purify your mind and body by passing between them.
There is a camellia garden in the north part of the main building and three major camellias are planted here. In fact, Honen-in is known as 'camellia temple' and a beautiful camellia carpet appears in the temple when the camellia shed their flowers in the middle of April.
The red leaves of autumn look well-balanced and the red leaves on the circular sand pools in the stone garden look especially beautiful.