Kikugetsutei is a tea house is an aristocratic tea house located in Ritsurin Park, which is famous for its exquisite stroll-type garden. The construction of this garden started in 1625 by the lord of the Takamatsu domain, Ikoma Takatoshi, and was completed in 1745 after 100 years of improvements and extensions made by five successive domain lords of the Matsudaira family. The park was designated a prefectural park and opened to the public in 1875.
The lord of the Matsudaira family loved this grand Kikugetsutei Tea House.
With the greenery of Mt. Shiun as a backdrop, its elegant shape looks in good harmony with the pond. The tea house is in Shoin-zukuri style (the style of warrior residences) and elaborately designed so that you can fully appreciate the beauty of the pond and the surrounding landscape beyond the water.
On the second Sunday every month, you can join the tea ceremony “Tsuki-gama” here at Kikugetsutei Tea House.
Ritsurin Park in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture, is a National Special Scenic Spot and is one of the largest and most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan.
The building of this garden dates back to the early 17th century. In 1625, the lord of the Takamatsu domain, Ikoma Takatoshi, began the construction. Then in 1642, Matsudaira Yorishige took over the domain and continued its construction. The work was completed by the 5th lord of the Matsudaira family in 1745 after 100 years of improvements and extensions. After the new Meiji government took control, the park was designated a prefectural park and opened to the public.
Ritsurin Park is a stroll-type landscape garden exquisitely laid out with mounds, ponds and trees, where visitors can appreciate landscapes from every part of the garden. The building of a garden around the South Pond using the beautiful greenery of Mt. Shiun as a backdrop is specifically exquisite.
Tea ceremonies and garden concerts are held at Kikugetsutei Tea House, which used to be favored by the successive domain lords. In fall, the garden is lit up for visitors to enjoy autumn leaves.
A Toshogu shrine is where Tokugawa Ieyasu is enshrined. In the Edo period (1603-1868), there were as many as over 500 Toshogu shrines in the country. Some of them like the ones in Nikko and Mt. Kunozan were constructed by the Tokugawa Shogunate, while others were constructed by daimyo, who were feudatory to the Tokugawa clan. With spate of abolition and integration of the shrines in the Meiji period (1868-1912) and onward, the number decreased to about 130.
Toshogu Shrine in the mountain village of Matsudaira is one of such existing Toshogu shrines. It enshrines Matsudaira Chikauji, the founder of the clan. It is said that Chikauji was a person of strong faith and compassion. He built many temples and shrines in his domain including Kogetsuin Temple as his family temple.
As the premise was where the Matsudaira family resided until the Taisho period (1912-1926), there remain historic ruins such as the ruins of the residence and an old well from which the water for Ieyasu’s first bath was taken. The stone walls and dry moats surrounding the precinct remind the visitors the atmosphere of bygone days.
Zuiunzan Honkoji Temple, about ten minutes’ walk from JR Mitsugane Station in Koda Town, Aichi Prefecture, is a temple of the Soto sect. It was founded in 1528 by Matsudaira Tadasada, the founder of the Fukozu Matsudaira clan, which was one of the 14 sub-clans of the Matsudaira clan. The principal object of worship is Shaka Nyorai. The statues of Jizo Bosatsu and Senju Kannon Bosatsu (Kannon with 1,000 arms) attending Shaka Nyorai on both sides are said to have been carved by the 12th-century master sculptor, Unkei.
Going along the front approach and passing by a small old shrine on your right, you will get to the red-painted main gate in the Yakui-mon style. Beyond the main gate lie the mausoleums of the Matsudaira clan on both sides of the path. The main hall is a landscape building. The small bell made of alloyed gold, silver and copper is hung under the eaves of the main hall. It was made under the order of Matsudaira Tadatoshi in the early 17th century.
Known as “the Temple of Hydrangea,” it is famous for hydrangea as well as plum and camellia. In June, the front approach and the precinct are covered with wonderful hydrangea flowers.
Kogetsuin Temple in Matsudaira-cho in Toyota City, Aich Prefecture, is famous as the family temple of Matsudaira Chikauji and his son Yasuchika, the ancestors of the Tokugawa clan.
The tombstone of Chikauji (the founder of the clan) in the center and those of Yasuchika (the 2nd head of the clan) and the wife of Chikatada (the 4th) on both sides are erected in the grave yard surrounded by stone walls with the doors, on which the family crest of the Tokugawa clan, hollyhock leaves (aoi-no-mon) are inscribed.
Kogetsuin Temple was founded in 1367 by Asuke Shigemasa under the patronage of Ariwara no Nobushige, the father of Chikauji’s wife. It was originally named Jakushoji Temple, but its name was changed to Kogetsuin after Chikauji dedicated the hall, the pagoda and the statue of Amida Buddha, which is the principal object of worship, and became the family temple of the Matsudaira clan.
The temple had received a great degree of protection from the Tokugawa Shogunate until the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). It was enfeoffed with the land producing 100 koku of rice by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1602. The main hall and the gate were reconstructed under the order of the 3rd Shogun Iemitsu in 1641.
Shinkomyoji Temple in Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture, is a temple of the Jodo sect. It is a historic temple famous as the family temple of the Matsudaira clan. The principal object of worship is Shaka Nyorai. The temple was founded in 1451 by the 3rd head of the Matsudaira clan, Matsudaira Nobumitsu, who took refuge in the Buddha under the guidance of the priest Shakuyo Zongei of the Chinzei school of the Jodo sect. The Shogunate gave a great degree of protection to the temple during the Edo period (1603-1868) as the family temple of the ancestors of the Shogun, and it bore the repair expense when the temple buildings were destroyed by fire.
The temple possesses a lot of cultural properties including the Kannon Hall, the statue of Yamagoe Amida Nyorai (Descent of Amida over the Mountains) of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), and the statue of Unchu Amida Nyorai (Amida on the Cloud) of the Nanbokucho period (1336-1392). The Kannon Hall was constructed in 1478 during the Muromachi period. The characteristics of the Zen-styled architecture in the mid-Muromachi period can be seen in the large camber on the outer side of the roof and the oni-gawara (decorative ridge-end tiles) atop the roof of the Somon Gate. The hall is nationally designated as an Important Cultural Property.
The remains of Okazaki Castle are in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture.
In the 15th century, the lord of Okusa Castle, Saigo Yoritsugu, built Okazaki Castle as defence against the Matsudaira Clan, who were heading south.
Then, in 1524, Matsudaira Kiyoyasu, the grandfather of Tokugawa Ieyasu, was given the castle and he moved it to its present place. Ieyasu was born at this castle and made it his base when he founded the Edo government.
In the Meiji period, Okazaki Castle was destroyed but in Meiji 34, it was restored as a symbol of Okazaki at the request of the locals.
The name of Okazaki Castle is now Okazaki Park and in spring, 2500 cherry trees blossom. The site has been chosen as one of Japan's top 100 places to see cherry blossom.
On the site, there are the remains of the Heian period Okazaki Castle, which was built by Okazaki Shiro. There is also the Muryoji-temple at the place of the donjon.
Matsudaira Native Village, located in Matsudaira, Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, has historical associations with the Tokugawa family.
The village is designated as a national ruin of Matsudaira. It was established by the Matsudaira clan in the 15th century. It is located to the south of Toyota, and helps give an historical understanding of the Matsudaira clan.
Even nowadays, Matsudaira Native Village is framed by beautiful nature. The village includes museums such as the Matsudaira Gokan, which exhibits various objects associated with the Matsudaira clan. Moreover, there is a statue of Matsudaira Chikauji, the father of Ieyasu, which is designated as a cultural asset of Toyota.
During early summer, iris blooms. Matsudaira Native Village is known as a spot for birds. It is a place that many tourists visit.