Sogenchi Pond at Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji (天龍寺), a site of World Heritage, is the head temple of Tenryu-ji Temple school of the Rinzai sect (臨済宗天龍寺派). The temple was built by Ashikaga Takauji (足利尊氏), the founder of the Muromachi shogunate (室町幕府), for the purpose of consoling the soul of the deceased Emperor Godaigo (後醍醐天皇) who was Takauji’s lifetime enemy.
Unfortunately, no original buildings have survived the many fires, but its garden called Sogenchi-teien (曹源池庭園) hasn’t been changed a bit since the temple’s foundation. It’s a Chisen-Kaiyu-shiki-teien (池泉廻遊式庭園, go around the pond style garden) landscaped by Muso Soseki (夢窓疎石), the first priest of the temple.
The pond “Sogenchi (曹源池)” was named after the monument found from the bottom of the pond reading “Sogen Itteki (曹源一滴, never waste even one drop of water). The garden is designated as the first “Historic site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty” of Japan. The landscape there is just wonderful.
Takiishigumi (滝石組み, stones that are used for making waterfalls in Japanese gardens) at the other side the pond is called Ryumonbaku (龍門瀑), and it expresses the very moment that a carp is climbing the waterfall and changing into a dragon. What a world of Zen…It’s truly worth seeing.
Kyoto Expert Certification 1st Grade
1 min. on foot from Arashiyama station, Keifuku line