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The pond at Sankeien, with the pagoda visible in the distance.
  • Japanese: 三渓園 (Sankeien)

Sankeien is a Japanese garden in Yokohama, built by silk magnate Hara Tomitarô. It contains many historic buildings moved there by Hara, including the oldest extant pagoda in the Kantô region. Many of these buildings are officially designated Important Cultural Properties.



  • Among the buildings located at Sankeien are the three-story pagoda and hondô (main hall) of the temple of Tômyô-ji, formerly located in the town of Kamo, in Kyoto prefecture. The temple was originally established in 735, during the reign of Emperor Shômu, but the structures moved to Sankeien date originally to the Muromachi period. The pagoda, built around 1457, is considered the oldest in the Kantô, though it has only been in the Kantô since 1914, when it was moved to Sankeien from Kyoto. The hondô, meanwhile, after being damaged in a storm in 1947, was disassembled and put into storage, then reassembled at Sankeien in 1986 and restored.
  • One of the largest buildings on the grounds is the Rinshunkaku ("Facing Spring Tower"), which contains numerous fusuma paintings by Kanô Tan'yû, Kanô Yasunobu, Kanô Eitoku, and Kaihô Yûshô. It was originally built in 1649, in what is now Iwade City, Wakayama prefecture, as a summer home for Kishû Tokugawa family head Tokugawa Yorinobu. The rooms of the building are organized according to the theme of the Four Noble Pursuits of the Confucian gentleman: music, poetry, calligraphy/painting, and games of strategy. Hara Sankei obtained the building in 1906, and moved it to his garden in 1915-17.
  • A teahouse on the grounds is called Ôjaku-an ("Inn of Flutes") on account of the flutes or decorations depicting flutes which once adorned the otherwise very simple structure. The flutes were destroyed in WWII, however. The age of the building, and its geographical origins are unknown.

Ôjaku was also the name of a court lady of the late Heian period who appears in the Heike Monogatari, and who was in love with the courtier Saitô Tokiyori. When he refused her advances, and left court to be away from her, entering a monastery, she took the tonsure as well in order to follow him.

  • The Lotus Blossom Hall, or "Renka-in", is a teahouse first built in 1917. It is said that a column standing in the middle of the earthen-floored entryway, along with some part of the wall next to it, come from the famous Byôdô-in Phoenix Hall in Uji.
  • Another tearoom on the grounds, the Shunsôro, is 3 3/4 tatami in size, and is said to have been originally built by Oda Urakusai, brother to Oda Nobunaga. Formerly known as the Kyûsôtei, the tearoom originally belonged to the Uji temple Mimuroto-ji. It was moved to Sankeien in 1918 along with the Gekkaden at the Konzô-in of that temple. The Gekkaden ("Moon Flower Palace") was originally built in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu on the grounds of Fushimi castle, where it served as a guest house for visiting daimyô before being moved to Mimuroto-ji.
  • A stone lantern known as the migawari tôrô is associated with Sen no Rikyû. It is said that when he was about to be executed, Rikyû dodged the executioner's blade, which struck this lantern instead. Of course, Rikyû was eventually executed in the end.
  • The Former Tenzui-ji Jutô-Ôidô is one of the few extant buildings today which can be definitively associated with Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was built in 1591 as a special kind of mausoleum for Hideyoshi's mother.
  • One of the few buildings in the garden to not be historical, but rather to be built originally for the garden, the Matsukaze-kaku, or "Pining Wind Tower," was built as a retreat, a second home, for Zenzaburô, Sankei's grandfather-in-law. Though it once looked out over a beautiful view of the water, today that bay is filled with industrial plants and the like. The original Matsukaze-kaku was destroyed in the 1923 earthquake, along with quite a lot else of course, and has been rebuilt in concrete and a rather plain and basic construction; it is unclear what the original might have looked like.


  • Plaques on-site.

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