Case study on a new concept of temple garden in Japan

Case study on a new concept of temple garden in Japan
発表者/presenter’s name:〇Tomonori Komase1,Yukinobu Wada 2,Kenichiro Fujisaki 3
所属/Affiliation:1 Komase Landscape Planning,2 Hogenji Temple,3 Nihon University


This article deals with a new proposal of temple garden which symbolizes Buddhism in Japan. It is a case study of the temple of Honen Buddhism (浄土宗). “Hogenji” in Tochigi prefecture the foundation of which dates back to beginning of 13 th century.

Basic teaching of Honen Buddhism is that ordinary people even criminals are salvaged by Amida Buddha to the Pure Land if they call his name. To embody this teaching, three symbolic expressions are used.

1.Appearance of Amida Buddha (来迎)

In an elevated area covered with moss, three stones are erected. When people are dead Amida Buddha appear flanked two Bodisattvas in order to salvage them.

So center stone represent Amida Buddha accompanied with two Bodisattvas.

2.Way to the Pure Land (二河白道)

Based on the teaching of Honen Buddhism, in order to be in the Pure Land every one must cross a big river. River sides are filled with wild fires and fierce animals.

Thought it is almost impossible to cross the river Amida Buddha indicates a white road between two waters to lead people towards the Pure Land (二河白道).

This teaching is symbolized by a road with white gravels surrounded by areas covered with moss.

3.The Pure Land (浄土)

“The Amida Sutra” describes that The Pure Land of Amida Buddha is illuminated by holy lights. In order to embody this sacred world filled with lights, special lighting fixtures are created using stone called “Ohya-stone. This stone contains some holes. Ohya-stones are carved to make cylinder and inside are hollowed out in order to equip a light bulb. When switched on, lights radiate through holes and make a solemn atmosphere. This is a metaphor of the Pure Land.

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