The 'Hyakunin-isshu' is a compilation of 100 exceptional poems from 100 famous poets, each individually chosen in chronological order.
The compilation was made by Sadaie Fujiwara, a poet of the Kamakura period, and the poems were carefully selected from the 'Kokinshu' and 'Shin-Kokinshu'.
The making of the compilation first started when Sadaie was requested to choose a poem to put on the fusuma door of Rensho Utsunomiya's villa, the Ogura-sanso, in Sagano, Kyoto. The compilation was first named the 'Ogura-sanso-shikishi-waka' or 'Sagasanso-shikishi-waka', but it is most famously known as 'Ogura-hyakunin-isshu'.
After the completion of the 'Ogura-hyakunin-isshu', many other private compilations of 100 poems, each from a different poet, followed. These include the 'Gosen-hyakunin-isshu', 'Genji-hyakunin-isshu', and 'Nyobo-hyakunin-isshu'. Additionally, there is a game called 'utakaruta', which is based on the 'Ogura-hyakunin-isshu'. This 'utakaruta' game started during the mid-Edo period and continues even now.
Yujaku Park is named after the ricefields (yujaku-den) owned by Shiga Yoshisato, the 8th son of Otomo Yoshinao, along with a mansion he owned as lord of the manor in 1240.
The land was given to Nakagawa Heiemon, the elder of the Oka Clan in 1664 from the Oka Clan leader, Nakagawa Kiyohisa. It provided an important stop along the route known as Sankin Kotai Michi that daimyo took between their domains and Edo. It was located closest to Okajo Castle.
Heiemon proceeded to build a mansion, plant maples and pines, make two ponds (Shinji-ike and Tanji-ike) and turn the land into a place not only as a rest station on the Sankin Kotai Michi but as a beautiful scenic cottage spot.
Apparently even important literati, such as Rai-Sanyo and Tanomura Chikuden, visited the Oka clan guesthouses (okyaku-ya) and held garden parties.
Today, a maple-viewing festival is held in November, and the park is renowned as one of the best places in Okayama to see autumn leaves.
Yusentei Park, located in Jonan-ku, Fukuoka City, is an historical area that includes the former villa of the Chikuzen-Kuroda clan. The villa was originally built in the mid-Edo period (1754) for Tsugitaka Kuroda, the 6th domain head of the Kuroda clan.
Yusentei ('friendly fountain villa') gets its name from a tanka poem written by a later lord, that goes: 'A fountain ('sen') does not know the heat that people cannot endure, The fountain is friendly ('yu') with a hermitage.'
It is wonderful to find such a genuine Japanese garden such as this. It includes a pond, as well as trees and flowers that include maple, beech, camellia and wisteria. The flora vary throughout the seasons. The view of the garden from the main building is splendid. The fall leaves are very beautiful and thousands of carp swim in the pond.
This park is like a sanctuary that calms us in our busy daily lives.
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.
Doi Bamboo Forest (Doi-chikurin) is located in Kodono-cho, Owase, Mie Prefecture. The forest was created by local millionaire Hachiroubei Doi, who had made a fortune in lumber.
Around 250 years ago, Hachiroubei imported several thousand moso bamboo trees from Kagoshima, then planted and cultivated them in a forest near his home. The warm yet rainy climate of Owase, and a time span of over 200 years, allowed the bamboo forest to grow to a height of 15m, covering more than 400m2. Among these are trees that have thickened to more than 30 centimeters in circumference.
At the entrance of the bamboo forest is a small museum called the 'House of Dolls'. This small house, built during the early Meiji period, was a country house for the Doi family, and currently displays a wide array of dolls collected from many different countries around the world.
The bamboo forest is silent except for the rustle of the leaves in the gentle winds, allowing the visitor to feel a sense of subtle and profound peace. Doi Bamboo Forest is a space for pure relaxation, and gives a pure Japanese sentiment to all visitors.
Ginkakuji Temple was constructed by Yoshimasa Ashikaga, the 8th Shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate as a villa in imitation of Kinkakuji Temple, which was constructed by his grandfather, Yoshimitsu. After Yoshimasa’s death, the villa was reformed as a temple and given the name of “Jishoji Temple” after Yoshimasa’s Buddhist name. At the time of the construction of 1482, there were 12 large and small buildings surrounding the Chisen-kaiyushiki garden (wet garden with promenade) with the Kinchochi Pond in its center. At the present remain Kannon Hall and Togudo Hall alone. The Dojinsai Room in the Togudo Hall is the oldest Shoinzukuri-style room in existence. The garden is the typical example of the Higashiyama Culture. Walking through the gate and going along the path between the beautifully arranged hedges, you will step in the garden covered with white sand, which leads you to the wabi and sabi world.
Kunenan located in Kanzaki-machi, Saga Pref. is the villa and garden with an area of 68,000 square meters, which Yataro Itami, a very successful businessman in this prefecture, spent 9 years from 1892 in building. The villa has an Irimoya style (hip-and-gable) thatched roof, clay walls with sugi-koshibari (cedar boards to finish the lower part), renmado (windows with bamboo lattice), and nure-en (shallow veranda), which creates rustic atmosphere. The garden is known for its scenic beauty of the season. Azalea in spring and red leaves in autumn are outstanding but more exquisite is the mosses naturally growing all over. It looks as though a green velvet carpet is spread and creates the ambience of Wabi-sabi aesthetics. Kunenan is open to the public only for 9 days (November 15 to 23) when trees in the garden turn red. It was designated as a national asset in February 1995.