Monday, July 6, 2015


Tofuku-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple founded in 1236. The buildings on the grounds are a mixture of original, reconstruction, and more recent construction.

The Hojo (head monk’s living quarters) is surrounded on all four sides by rock gardens, each with its own character. The southern Garden is a dry-stone garden, the western garden contains moss and azalea shrubs trimmed into a checkered pattern, the northern garden contains square-cut stones and patches of moss in a checkered pattern, and the eastern garden has seven cylindrical stones arranged in a field of moss. 

The Tsutenkyo Bridge spans a valley of maple trees and is a spectacular site to see. Crossing it brings one to a variety of shrines, including the Kaisando Hall, a mausoleum for the temple’s first head monk. The stone path in front of Kaisando is flanked by contrasting gardens on both sides. On the left is a dry rock garden, and on the right, a lush pond garden. These gardens  were built during the Edo Period (1603-1867).