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The Sword Cuts in the Pillar at Kogenji Temple

It’s getting colder and colder everyday. Since the cold winds bear the scarlet color of the autumn foliage even richer, the expectation has been hugely increasing.

The Tenryuji (天龍寺) temple, one of the world heritage site in Kyoto, is famous for its garden with the beautiful landscape of mountains of the Arashiyama (嵐山) district in its background. The temple will soon be very crowded until the foliage season ends.

By the way, have you evenr been to a temple called Kogenji (弘源寺)? It is one of the sub temples of Tenryuji and is located within its premises. The temple has a famous Karesansui (枯山水, a dry landscape garden) style garden, but what makes me excited more is the real sword cuts in the pillar created by the samurai soldiers of the Choshu domain (長州藩) at the end of the Edo (江戸) period. The cuts were engraved during the Hamaguri gomon no Hen (蛤御門の変, Hamaguri Gomon incident, a clash between pro and anti-shogunate forces) while the soldiers were staying at the temple. They tried their swords on the pillar before going to the battle field.

The thoughts of eager soldiers in their fair youth at the very unstable and disturbing times makes me very emotional. The beautiful foliage and sword cuts…how odd, and how sad… I had a very emotional afternoon.

Akane Kibune

Kyoto Expert Certification 1st Grade

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