mit_souko (mit_souko) wrote,

The sub temples of Daitokuji

Daitokuji, founded 1319,  is a large walled ensemble of Zen temples, almost two dozen of them, of varying dates. Aya-san and I visited four of the more important ones. There are restrictions on taking photos in most of them. It was in fact, quite frustrating to visit those lovely old places and not be able to take pictures.

Aya-san surprised me by wearing a beautiful kimono, whereas she usually comes in western clothes. Here she is at Oubai-in. This temple was founded by Oda Nobunaga in 1562, and built by Hideyoshi, to serve as a memorial for Nobunaga's father, Oda Nobuhide. It is only open in April and November.


Aya 2
The photograph doesn't do justice to the damask type fabric. Truly elegant!

The start of the visit.

Unfortunately, after this we were sternly warned no photos were to be taken, and that it meant with a cell phone or other tool as well. I did manage to find a photo of one small side garden, taken 3 years ago. Maybe they were less restrictive then:
ouba-in dry garden
[credit :Gramercy Cafe]

We went on from to Daisen-in, founded in 1509. The buildings are the original ones. It's an important Zen temple, despite its small size. We met an old monk, selling booklets and printed maxims. Upon hearing I was of French origin, he started reciting in French one of his maxims, a rather unexpected performance. He was Ozeki Soen, born in 1932, the abbot of Daisen-in. I gathered that he likes for visitors to buy his maxims, either in Japanese or translated. His photograph is on the booklets of the temple, raking gravel in one of the gardens. He was a cheerful, friendly man, not the austere monk one might imagine.

The earliest high priest designed one of the small dry gardens there, with one stone figuring an island, and another, well chosen, representing a ship.
[credit: Gramercy Cafe]

from another angle
from another angle
Here is another:
The tall rocks at the rear represent mountains with waterfalls.

This temple also houses the earliest known example of tokonoma [alcove].

We went on to visit Koto-in.
the way to Koto-in
we encountered some gentians
gentian blooming, on the way to Zuiho-in
and a bit of color:
small side garden

a bit of color, Koto-in
A gnarly maple
gnarly maple, Koto-in
No photos inside either. We pushed on towards Zuiho-in, built in 1535
a walkway
And, surprise, they didn't object to photos!
First, the impressive larger dry landscape, with angry waves:
the waves at Zuiho-in
and a side garden
side garden, Zuiho-in
It had others, but I thought these gave a good idea of the place. Curiously, while the buildings at Zuiho-in are ancient, these dry gardens are in fact modern, being laid out in 1961.

My last visit before leaving Kyoto was to Shinnyo-do, in Higashiyama, an altogether different atmosphere than these discreet Zen temples. Photos coming up!


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