Shitoro ware is pottery made in Kanaya, Shimada City, Shizuoka Pref. This craft dates back to the late Muromachi period (in the 1500s), when a potter from Mino province (present-day the southern part of Gifu Pref.) built a kiln in this town. The craft was given a vermillion-seal certificate for pottery industry by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1588 and thrived through the early Edo period. Shitoro ware leaped to fame when Kobori Enshu, a notable artist and tea master of the time, nurtured this pottery as one of Enshu Seven Kilns. Shitoro ware is sober in color and has a taste of antiquity. A good point of this pottery is that you don’t have to care about compatibility with other vessels or flowers to be put in. It is well-known that the authentic ancient vases of Shitoro ware have exergues of “Sobokai” or “Ubagafutokoro” on their bottoms. As Shitoro ware is solid and tolerant to moisture, it is suitable for tea caddies and other tea utensils.
Hassoan (literally meaning “the eight window hut”) is a Japanese tea house in Nakajima Park in Chuo-ku, Sapporo City, Hokkaido. It is one of the oldest Japanese-styled buildings in the city and is a historic building that symbolizes the park. It was designated as a national Important Cultural Property in 1950.
This tea house was originally built inside Komuro Castle in present Siga Prefecture, where Kobori Enshu (1579-1647), a tea ceremony master of the Edo period, resided. It was designed by Enshu himself when he was in his later years. It is a Nijo-daime (2and 3/4 tatamis, namely about 2 x 3 m square) tea house with 8 windows, from which the name derived. The eight windows are placed to create spacious impression in this small room.
Another tea house named “Sanbuan” was annexed to the original building when the tea house was bought by a wealthy business man in Sapporo in the Taisho period (1912-1926). The tea house was donated to the city of Sapporo in 1971 and relocated to Nakajima Park.
Kodaiji Garden (Higashiyama in Kyoto City), which was recently restored by a contemporary master gardener, Yasuo Kitayama, had originally been designed by the renowned gardener Kobori Enshu, who designed many famous gardens in the early Edo period. The garden had been left ill-maintained for a long time before Kitayama’s restoration. “Before I got to work,” says Kitayama, “I thought about what ideas Kobori Enshu had wanted to represent in this garden.” If you stroll along the paths in the garden, you will notice everywhere his thoughtful consideration for the visitors to feel as if they are embraced by the nature. Above all, the most impressive is the garden surrounding Kaisan-do Hall with two ponds, which is filled with tranquil beauty. The best seasons are in fall, when the line of autumn leaves continues to the foot of Mt. Higashiyama, and in April, when cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Kodaiji Temple is also known as the first temple in Kyoto that puts on a night time light-up show during the limited time of the year. A lot of tourists visit this temple to enjoy the fantastic night garden. Kitayama is also responsible for directing this light-up show.
The Ogane family’s residence located in Katahama, Makinohara City, Shizuoka Pref. is a private house of an old-established family. The main building (omoya) and Nagaya-mon Gate are nationally designated as Important Cultural Properties. The Ogane family served for Shibata Katsuie during the Warring States period (1493-1573). From the middle to the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), the family performed the duties of O-Shoya (the biggest village headman in the area) and was a wealthy farmer with more than 3,000 koku income.
The main building in Chona-zukuri style (using a lumber curved like a Japanese hand ax) is said to have been built around 1597. The garden beside the main building is made by the master garden designer, Kobori Enshu. In front of Nagaya-mon Gate is the hydrangea garden, where 12,000 stocks of hydrangea and 3,000 Japanese iris are in bloom. The hydrangea Festival is held from the late May through the early July. The former rice storehouse has been reformed into a museum, where the family treasures and other art works are exhibited. Visitors can learn about the way of life in the Edo period at the Ogane family’s residence.
Moriyama Ware is the traditional pottery made in Mori-machi, Shuchi-gun, Shizuoka Pref. It was founded in 1909 by Shukichi Nakamura, who was influenced by Kato Toshiro, the founder of Seto Ware. The name “Moriyama” comes from the village name. In the early days, the items such as clay pipes or water vases were produced. Through making one mistake after another, he gradually improved the techniques and started to make daily necessities such as tea utensils, flower vessels, sake vessels and food vessels, which became very popular at the time. The style of Moriyama Ware is descended from Shitoro Ware, one of Enshu Seven Kilns, which is simple but has high artistic taste. At the present time, there are four studios in a quiet village at the foot of the mountain and are continuing this tradition. Each of them has its own taste. Among them, the most famous is Akayaki (red pottery) made at Seison Pottery Studio, which is worth being called “the art of fire.”
Akahada Pottery, manufactured in Gojyou, Nara City, is one of the Enshuu Seven Kilns so named because Kobori Enshuu, a prominent tea master, loved them. There is no clear record as to the origin of the pottery, but reportedly it originated from a kiln built in Akahada Mountain in Gojyou village by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a lord of Yamato County during the Momoyama period. Akahada pottery thrived under the protection of a succession of federal lords during the late Edo period and, by the very end oft period, Okuda Mokuhaku, a noted master-craftsman, had succeeded in making the pottery well-known beyond that region. Akahada means “red skin” and, as the name suggests, Akahada pottery has delicate reddish color. Another theory as to where Akahada pottery got its name is that it was named after the soil from Akahada Mountain. The red color of the pottery comes from burning this iron-rich soil. The color of the glaze is milky white and is often decorated with Narae. Narae are paintings based upon the religious themes of sutras and lotus patterns. Some pieces however, are made without paintings and thus have a more imposing look. The pottery is mostly used for things such as vases, pots, plates and ornaments, but is especially valued for tea sets.
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.
Raikyuji is a Zen temple that was established by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339. Its garden is especially famous and was designed by Kobori Enshu, a great tea master. It is a representative Japanese Zen garden that was built in the early Edo period.
From the temple, Mt Atago can be viewed in the distance as a 'borrowed view' beyond the garden. In the center of the raked gravel, there are two artificial rock islands called Tsuru Island and Kame Island. Both of them are surrounded by shaped azalea topiary ('okarikomi'), which is arranged along small artificial hills. This form was also used to illustrate the 'Seigaiha' (one form of Gagaku).
The garden has a graceful atmosphere and, in 1974, was designated as a Japanese beauty spot.