Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Kyoto Daitokuji, Hoshun-in + Koto-in

In a frenzy of activity aimed at using my Japan Rail Pass in an efficient manner, last Tuesday I made a second tour to autumnal Kyoto, this time to Daitokuji Temple complex. The large network of temples and sub-temples adjoin on the grounds, dotted amongst ancient and elegant gardens, some for mediation or surrounding practice halls, others ornamental contemplative gardens to tea houses. Within the large cluster of temples, I visited Hoshun-in, Korin-in and Koto-in, the latter supposed to be especially resplendent in autumn.

Koto-in Zen Temple (1601) established at the behest of military leader Hosokawa Tadaoki (1563-1645), is a sub-temple of Daitokuji located within the precincts of the main temple. The famous tea-house known as Shoko-ken that stands at this temple was built by Hosokawa and adjacent tea-house, known as Horai. Koto-in has numerous rare paintings and art objects, both Chinese and Japanese, many now classified as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. The garden of this temple is a masterpiece of elegant simplicity, famed for the beauty of its maples during the autumn season - perfect!

Hoshun-in Temple Donkokaku (1617) - bridge, pond and rokaku (several storied structure). Though not very large, its elegantly landscaped garden, with oddly overlaying rocks, is attractive for its three-dimensional composition and offers outstanding seasonal beauty in the flowering season due to lilies and irises surrounding the pond and Kagantei Zen rock garden.