come and go,
their traces disappear–
yet they never
forget their path.

Daisen-in (Great Hermit Temple) is one of the most noted dry (kare-sansui) gardens of stone and sand in Japan.

Built between 1509 and 1513, some think by its founder Kogaku Shuko. Soami’s fusuma landscape paintings are displayed inside the temple,  and he may have collaborated in its design.  

The gardens are done in the tradition of Chinese paintings of the Song period (960-1279) of vast cliff and falling waters. The focus of the east garden is a boat-shaped rock that once belonged to the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1435-1490). Surrounded with other rocks, trees, and gravel it becomes a detailed landscape. Some think of this rock as a ship sailing in the river of gravel where in the south side of the Hondo it then flows into a plain white gravel with a single sarasoju tree, the kind under which Buddha passed into Nirvana.

This garden is very popular, so try to get there when it first opens. No photography is allowed.

See website for information regarding opportunities for meditation http://www.b-model.net/daisen-in/index.htm