The 3,000 square meter garden behind Joeji Temple in Yamaguchi City is called Sesshutei (lit. Sesshu’s garden).
It is believed that the garden was commissioned by the 29th generation Lord Masahiro Ouchi sometime in the 15th Century, and certainly Sesshu was in Yamaguchi at that time, along with many other artists and nobles from Kyoto, who had fled the war-torn capital, and who helped to keep Kyoto culture alive during this period.
Like other Zen gardens of the Muromachi Period, there are few plants in it, though the forested hillside bordering the garden is considered a part of the garden. It is believed Sesshu designed the garden after he returned from China, and so it reflects some Chinese influence and is based on a landscape painting of Sesshu’s.
There is also a smaller raked-gravel garden in the grounds of the temple, and a footpath that goes around the main garden with a side path up to the top of the hill where there are some quite dramatic Buddhist statues.
Sesshutei is open 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entrance fee for adults is 300yen.
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Friday, November 28, 2008