Sunday, May 17, 2009
The Shosei-en Garden was just east of the Higashi Hongangi (Shinshu Otani-ha) Temple, North of the JR station. Without a doubt this was my favorite place of all that we saw in Japan. So beautiful and peaceful. I would have loved to have seen it during Hanami. We took a chance on the free day we had and decided to walk up to see it. So glad we did. The Garden is also known as the Kikjoku-tei or the Orange Grove for a large number of trees growing there.
The Gardens are built on the grounds of the former mansion of a Heinan era Prince. Prince Minamoto no Toru, who was the son of Emperor Saga (early ninth century).
In 1641 the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu gave a large portion of land to the Higashi Honganji. The garden itself got its start in 1643 when the heir of the Honganji tradition commissioned the creation of a garden.
In 1858 and 1864 fires destroyed the grounds and structures. Starting in 1865 and continuing through the Meiji era the buildings and the stone wall and the pond were restored and rebuilt.
The herons lived on the island in the middle of the back pond.
Maybe not cherry blossoms, but pretty enough.
Here is an edited video I put together utilizing the clips I shot that day: