Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Chugoku Sanyo, San-in 中国地方山陽、山陰 - Joeiji Sesshutei 常栄寺雪舟庭

Visited 26.04.2015 (Sun)

Heritage. Visited Joeiji as part of the two hours sightseeing taxi course in the morning. Apart from Rurikoji and its five storied pagoda, this is another place I will recommend to visit if you are in Yamaguchi City, more so if you are a fan of gardens. The unusually laidback and quaint atmosphere experienced in Yamaguchi City, the capital city of Yamaguchi Prefecture was something I adore a lot. Coupled with a rich heritage, I personally find that this former castle town definitely has much more to offer than I initially thought. How the ruling of Ouchi and Mori clan shaped the lives of the people and influence the landscape here across centuries and the coexistence of both Buddhism and Christianity in the city are just some of the virtues for visitors to delve deeper into.

Background. It is said that Sesshutei was ordered to be built by Lord Masahiro Ouchi, and Sesshu, a notable landscape painter and priest well versed in Chinese paintings, was tasked to design and create this garden. Designated as a National Historic Site and Scenic Beauty in 1926, the 3,000 m2 wide inner garden is a fine reproduction of a Shan Shui painting (山水画) from Sesshu. In the middle of the garden is a pond which is supposed to resemble the kanji character for heart (心). Surrounding the pond is a rock garden and such style of standing stones is a distinctive feature of garden originated during the Muromachi era (1336 – 1573). There is a dedicated walking path around Sesshutei for visitors to capture a 360 degree view of this beautifully landscaped garden. After a leisure stroll to soak yourself fully into the zen ambience, head down to Hondou (本堂), the main building in Joeiji Temple. The Hondou serves as an excellent viewing gallery for visitors to sit down comfortably to admire the living picture of Sesshutei.

Spot mini Mt Fuji! While we were engrossed into this masterpiece created by Sesshu, our taxi driver directed our attention to one of the rocks in the garden. Due to its upright triangular shape, this particular rock has been referred to as the mini Fuji-san in Sesshutei. See whether you can spot this iconic rock in the garden!


Joeiji Sesshutei 常栄寺雪舟庭
〒753-0011 山口県山口市宮野下2001-1
Operating hours: 0800 - 1700 hrs (Dec to Mar: 0800 - 1630 hrs)
Admission fee = 300 yen

How to get there?

(1) Bus.
- From Yamaguchi JR Station, walk 10 minutes to Yamaguchi Shiyakusho-mae 山口市役所前 bus stop, take Kocho Bus 坊長バス heading for Miyano 宮野. Alight at Sesshutei Iriguchi 雪舟庭入口 and walk for another 10 minutes.
Bus fare = 230 yen (Shiyakusho-mae to Sesshutei Iriguchi)
- From Yamaguchi JR Station, board either JR Chugoku Bus or Kocho Bus 坊長バス, heading for Kencho-mae 県庁前 and alight at Kencho-mae. From here, take Kocho Bus 坊長バス heading for Miyano 宮野. Alight at Sesshutei Iriguchi 雪舟庭入口 and walk for another 10 minutes.
Bus fare = 200 yen (Kencho-mae to Sesshutei Iriguchi)

Bus schedule:
- Look under 陸上競技場 ⇔ 県庁前 ⇔ 江良 ⇔ 宮野, for buses departing from Shiyakusho-mae and Kencho-mae fro Sesshutei Iriguchi.
- Look under 防府駅 ⇒ 小鯖 ⇒ 大内 ⇒ 山口駅・県庁前, for buses departing from Yamaguchi JR Station for Kencho-mae.

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