Ryogin-an was originally the residence of the third abott of Tofuku-ji, The most prominent features of this temple are its three day zen gardens karesansui style. Thesouth garden, called the "garden of vanity" lies in front of the hojo. It consists in an austere rectangle of raked gravel, nicely echoing the emptiness of vanity. At the western end of the garden a bamboo fence with a unique design closes the perspective together with the maples that loom over it. The design of the fence has no particular meaning according to the monk I asked to, but the pamphlet says they're lighting bolts. The Garden of the Dragon one of the finest modern karesansui gardens, with stones dramatically placed amidst black and white gravel - each dark area represents something a dragon or clouds. The Eastern garden is the "Garden of the Inseparable", with a simple ginkgo tree standing in the background. This garden uses purple gravel that is not common for zen gardens, and hints at the recency of its design. All three gardens were designed by Shigemori Mirei a modern master landscape gardener who designed other gardens in Tofukuji as well as others in Kyoto and indeed Japan.
- @John Lander
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