Nanzenji is of the most powerful Zen monasteries in Japan, as it was counted among the Gozan, the five principal Zen establishments in Kyoto, and in 1381 was declared number one. Its main garden is a large rectangle of crushed rock, and can be viewed from verandas of Seiryoden Hall. Along the eastern wall is a moss covered area containing large stones and shrubs, these elements arranged from north to south. Because Nanzenji is located just below the slope of Higashiyama, the view of the garden includes the borrowed scenery of the hillside. The shape of the boulders has led some to assume that they represent "leaping tigers" following the Kano School paintings of tigers decorating the sliding doors of the Seiryoden Hall.
- ©John Lander
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