Sankeien Garden in Yokohama is one of the best Japanese gardens built after Meiji Restoration in 1868. It was designed by a wealthy silk merchant and supporter of young Japanese painters some of whom later became giants such as Taikan Yokoyama and Kanzan Shimomura. The garden consists of outer garden, a landscape garden around a huge pond at center and inner garden which has a number of National Cultural Properties. I once visited this garden in 1986. At that time I was one of the volunteer guides for Canadian high school students who visited Yokohama. I took the eastside road as I did about 25 years ago. This is the first segment of 21 video clips on this garden.
When you walk around the outer garden of Sankeien, I recommend that you go along the eastern side of the pond. When you start the promenade you will come across the Yatsuhashi. Yatsuhashi is a style of garden bridges that are zigzagly arranged.Then you will enjoy the road just like that of countryside Japan.
When Sankeien Garden was open to public, people could visit only outer garden and inner garden was set aside for private residence. Until recently to enter the inner garden you had to pay extra fee and pass through Gomon gate. Now that Sankei Memorial Hall was built the distinction between inner and outer garden became vague. The little shrine on the video is Sankeien Tenmangu. Tenmangu is a shrine worshiping Sugawara No Michizane. Tenmangu is believe to grant wishes for academic achievements.
Starting from Sankeien Tenmangu, enshrining Sugawara No Michizane, I headed for the Main Hall of Old Tomyoji Temple the first National Cultural Property building I came across after entering the garden.
Tomyoji temple was founded in 735 A.D. at Kizugawa, Kyoto by Gyoki after Emperor Shomu issued a command paper to build a temple. Ninzen rebuilt the ruined temple in mid 15th century when the Main Hall and the Three-Storied Pagoda was built. After that the temple became a Nichiren-sect temple and when the temple was abandoned during Meiji Era a wealthy businessman bought the abandoned temple and the owner of the Sankeien, Tomitaro Hara, bought the three-storied pagoda from him. The main hall was moved to the present place in 1987.
I started walking from Tairyo Jizo to get to Old Yanohara House. Tairyo Jizo is a jizo which grants the wish for big catch. So people who donate coins may be someone related to port or fishing industries or anglers. On my way to Yanohara house I found a fancy tea house. It is called Yokobuean named for the statue of Yokobue, a woman serving Lady Tokiko. Yokobue fell in love with Tokiyori Saito one of the retainers of Taira no Kiyomori but her love did not materialize. The statue of Yokobue,however, was lost during second world war. After a short walk Old Yanohara House came into view.
Old Yanohama House was originally at the Shirakawa Village area facing demolition because the area would be underwater when the dam was completed and was moved to the garden in 1960. This old house is one of the few buildings open to public throughout the year.
Old Yanohara House and Old Tokeiji Sanctum are some of the most popular buildings in the outer garden of Sankeien. Tokeiji Sanctum is not far from Yanohara House but I had to detour to get there. Old Tokeiji Sanctum was originally at Tokeiji temple in Kamakura built in 17th century and was moved to the present place in 1907.
After visiting Old Tokeiji Sanctum, I headed for the Three-Storied Pagoda of Old Tomyoji Temple which stands on the hilltop. On the way I found a nice arbor. It was the place mentioned by Rabindranath Tagore or Ryunosuke Akutagawa who might have enjoyed the hot barley tea served in that arbor.
Now I started to climb the hill. On the hilltop there is a three-storied pagoda built in 1457. The pagoda was originally at Tomyoji temple in Kyoto then it was moved to Sankeien and became the symbol of the garden.
After visiting the three-story pagoda at the hilltop I went toward the Inner Garden. The tea house on the right side of the trail is Rindoan which was donated in 1971. After walking the trail for a while Green tea cafe KARIGAMEJAYA come into view. Modern building ahead is Sankei Memorial Hall which stands between outer and inner garden.
Rinshunkaku is one of the most popular buildings in the inner garden of Sankeien garden, Yokohama. It is often used as a place to take memorial photos. It is no doubt the place photographers might fall in love. It was originally the villa of Kishu Tokugawa family in Wakayama built in 1649. Yoshimune Tokugawa, the eighth shogun of Tokugawa Shogunate once lived the villa when he was young.
From the garden around Rinshunkaku, I went toward Choshukaku, a National Cultural Property. It was built by Shogen Sakuma in 1623 by the order of Iyemitsu Tokugawa, the third Shogun of Tokugawa Government. The tea house was later given to Lady Kasuga, Iyemitsu's wet nurse. After that the tea house was moved to the Edo residence of Masanori Inaba, grandson of Lady Kasuga. In 1881 it was moved to the residence of Prince Motohiro Nijo. Tomitaro Hara, the owner of Sankeien Garden bought the tea house and moved it to the inner garden in 1922. Inside the house and some of the trails are open only during early May, between late November and mid December(November 26-December 12 in 2011).
This area is the highlight of inner garden of Sankeien. The first fancy old building is Choshukaku(open only in May and Autumn Foliage Season). Then going up the trail and you will see Gekkaden then at the end of the trail you will find Tenjuin. Tenjuin is formerly a Jizodo of Shinpeiji temple in Kamakura built in 1651 and moved to the present place in 1918. All of the buildings in this video are designated as National Cultural Property.
Shofukaku is a lookout on the top of the hill near the south gate of Sankeien Garden. Near the lookout there used to be the original Shofukaku building where Radindranath Tagore stayed for three months when he visited Japan. It went to the rubble when Kanto Earthquake hit in 1923. The lookout no longer has the beach view Tagore might have loved.
Video Review of Sankeien #21 Sankeien Garden was built by a silk Merchant and a sponsor of Japanese painters such as Taikan Yokoyama and Kanzan Shimoyama. The garden is also an open air architectural museum made up of buildings moved from the temples in Kyoto and Kamakura.
Gomon Gate, the main gate to the inner garden was formerly a Yakuimon Gate of Saihouji Temple in Kyoto built in 1708 and moved there around 1920.