Tofuku-ji´s Hojo "Hasso" Gardens
15-778 Honmachi, Kyoto, Japan
Tofuku-ji´s Hojo "Hasso" Gardens Kyoto Reviews
Beautiful gardens surrounding the Abbot's Hall Dec 04, 2013
The Hojo (Abbot's Hall) is one of the main buildings in the Tofuku-ji. It was founded in 1235 and rebuilt in 1890. Its surrounding gardens were designed in 1939 by Mirei Shigemori. Very young for Japanese history! Tofuku-ji is the only temple in which gardens circumscribe all 4 sides of the Hojo.
The four surrounding gardens that make up the "Hasso" Garden represent "Hasso-jodo" (the 8 aspects of Buddhist life). When you enter, to your left you will see the Southern Garden, which is composed of a cluster of four gigant rocks symbolizing the 4 Elysian islands on a bed of swirling raked gravels that symbolizes "Hakkai" (the 8 rough seas) and five moss-covered sacred mountains in the right corner. The next garden is the Western Garden. It consists of squarely trimmed azalea shrubs planted against square fields of white gravels to reflect its name "Seiden ichimatsu", an ancient Chinese way of land division. Between this and the Northern Garden there is a platform where there is a great view of the Tsuten-kyo Bridge. In autumn it's particularly nice with the red colours of the maple leaves. The foundation rocks in the Northern Garden comes from the omoto-mon (front gate). Together with moss it manifests an irregular checkered field of green. The last garden is the Eastern Garden. It distributes the temple's foundation pillars amidst a bed of gravels to illustrate Hokutoshichisei (the Great Bear constellation).
If you go to Tofuku-ji, a visit to the Hojo and gardens is highly recommended. It is an extra 400 yen, but well worth the money. The garden is open daily 9 am - 4:30 pm. It's a ten minutes walk from Tofukuji station on the Nara line (2 minutes from Kyoto station).
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