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Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺) / The Dojin-sai

The Dojin-sai - This four and a half tatami mat room is believed to be the original design for all future tea rooms.
Yoshimasa's tea master, Murata Shuko (1423-1503), is thought of as the first tea master and personally designed this tea room.
The alcove (tokonoma) for displaying flowers or scrolls and the sliding shoji that are present in many tea rooms and Japanese houses today were first present in the Dojin-sai. Murata's influence of the tea ceremony carried over to the 16th century, when sado was systemized, and beyond.
Just behind the Togu-do is the water source of the pond and stream, where Yoshimasa collected water for his tea ceremonies. This small spring is still active today, supplying crystal clear water for exclusive tea ceremonies.


(View of part of the sand garden)

From the Hondo and Togu-do if you turn around you can see the first part of the grand garden. This garden is divided into two parts, though the first part may not really seem like the image of a garden that you have in mind. This is a karaesanisui garden (dry garden) called Ginshaden or the Sea of Silver Sand. The "garden" consists of a 2 foot platform of sand that covers 0.71 hectares (1.75 acres) that is meant to be viewed as a sea, though the lines are far too straight and perfect to create such a clear illusion. Despite this, it is truly a wonderful sight that you can lose yourself in. The highly labor intensive maintenance of the garden requires that the platform walls be reshaped and the garden re-raked everyday. Watching the temple staff reshape the walls you can easily develop an immediate appreciation for the work of art before you. Though amazing at any time of the day, the best view of the garden is said to be at night with a full moon shining on the sand, making it truly resemble a calm, peaceful, silver sea.


(Trimming of The Sand Garden)


(Trimming of The Sand Garden)


(Trimming of The Sand Garden)

Next to the sea of sand you can see a cone shaped structure rising 2 meters into the air. This is called the Kogetsudai, or Moon-viewing Platform. There are several theories about this mountain shaped creation. Some believe it is meant to resemble Mount Fuji, while others say it was designed as a simple mound of sand used to replenish the walkways. Still others say that the cones of this type (they are located in other temples in Japan) are meant to reflect divine light into the hearts of the visitors. No matter what the true purpose is, the Kogetsudai illuminates the Silver Pavilion on moonlight nights, making for a magnificent sight. In addition, it is said that from above the Silver Pavilion the Kogetsudai upon the Ginshaden resembles the silvery full moon reflected in a deep lake.


(View of the sand garden)

It is said that the famous landscape gardener Soami (1455-1525) personally designed the garden and buildings of Ginkaku-ji. Soami is believed to have been the greatest landscape artist in medieval Japan and having his name attached to a temple in any way grants immediate distinction and prestige. However there is no mention of the sand structures existing before the renovations of the Edo period, which began almost 100 years after Soami's death. This discrepancy is not uncommon in Japanese history, especially that of temples.

Coming down from the path you walk by the pond which is called Kinkyo-chi or Brocade Mirror Pond. There are two small islands called Crane and Turtle Islands. Cranes and turtles are both symbols of longevity. The islands (and some real turtles of course) float peacefully in the pond and there are several rocks, as mentioned before, scattered in and around the pond. Each of the stones has a name - for example the large stone in the center of the pond is known as "Ecstatic Contemplation" while another forms a stone bridge called the "Bridge of the pillar of the Immortal".


(Sengetsu-sei (Moon watching fountain))

Take your time around the pond soaking in the views. Each view is meant to conjure an image from classic Japanese or Chinese literature. The pond is completed by a small waterfall called Sengetsu-sei (moon watching fountain). The tiny trickle of water from this fall is designed to spread ripples across the water - the reflection of the moon in the water, combined with the reflection of the moonlight on the sand garden is one the highlights of Ginkakuji.

This finally brings us to Ginkaku, the Silver Pavilion. If you have just been to Kinkaku-ji and were blown away by the dazzling golden building built there by Yoshimasa's grandfather, then you may be a bit disappointed in the Silver Pavilion. Although Yoshimasa intended to cover the pavilion in silver leaf, he either never got around to it or just got caught up in his incense room or noh plays. In any case the pavilion never has never been silver but has somehow kept its name.


(Ginkaku - The Silver Pavilion)

This simple building consists of only two floors of similar architectural style to that of the Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-ji. It is nothing at all like the ostentatious and more flamboyant designs of military rulers like Toyotomi Hideyoshi or the Tokugawa Shoguns. The first floor is called Shinkudan or Empty Heart Hall. It is only 5.5 meters (22 feet) by 6.7 meters (18 feet) in size and is typical of the Heian architectural style known as the shinden style, with a single large room divided into several rooms by fusama sliding panels. Enshrined on this floor is an image of Jizo, the Buddhist protector of children, who is surrounded by 1000 small Jizo images.


(Chouonkaku (Hall of Roaring Waves))

The second floor, named Chouonkaku (Hall of Roaring Waves) borrows its name from the Golden Pavilion at Kinkakuji. Because this floor contains a gilt Kannon (Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion) image, the building is sometimes called Kannon-dono (Kannon Hall). The gilt image was reputedly created by Unkei in the 13th century, and the image is resplendent against the black lacquer varnish of the room. This floor has bell shaped windows and is surrounded by a small railing. Atop the building, keeping watch over the temple, is a gilt bronze phoenix.

The simplicity of this building, in fact the entire temple, is what makes its beauty so astounding. Be it the Ginshaden, Ginkaku, or Kinkyo-chi, each element of Ginkaku-ji blends to create a peaceful and harmonious whole.

By T.S. on June 2, 2010
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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。