Sankei Garden (Sankei-en) in Yokohama was created by Tomitaro “Sankei” Hara,
a successful silk trader. He designed and built a traditional Japanese garden, and used
it to rescue a number of historically significant ancient structures from all over Japan.
He bought the buildings and transported them to his garden, which he opened to
the public in 1906. Ten of these buildings are Important Cultural Properties.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.


There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection


Sankeien Garden itself is a beautiful example of Japanese horticulture arrangement,
for this page I am concentrating on several of the historically significant structures
 which are strategically located throughout the 175,000 square meter garden.


Sankeien Yokobuean 7858

The Yokobuean was built in the Inakaya style (it is a traditional style rural cottage).
Yokobuean is now a tea arbor (its origins are lost to history). The name originates from
Yokobue, a heroine in a very famous Meiji era love story, written in the style of ancient tales.
An means hermit’s cell, monastery or hermitage, so this commemorates Yokobue’s hermitage.
There used to be a small statue of Yokobue standing in the cottage, but it was lost at some point.

A 12th century court lady in the palace of the Empress, Yokobue fell in love with a highborn samurai
named Tokiyori. Tokiyori’s father forbade the unequal match, and unwilling to disobey his father,
Tokibori (much in love) shaved his head and entered the priesthood. Yokobue followed him to
the temple to plead her cause, but to escape Yokubue’s tempting presence, Tokiyori
moved to another temple at Koyasan. Yokobue, realizing the futility, became a
nun at Nara, but when the new life failed to end her yearning for Tokiyori,
she moved to Koyasan in the hope of catching a glimpse of Tokiyori.
Many years passed without their meeting, and finally, Tokiyori,
while meditating at Daien-in at Koyasan, heard an uguisu
(the bird for which Nightingale floors are named). When
the singing stopped, he searched and found the bird
floating on the surface of a pond, and knew that
Yokobue was dead. He took the uguisu’s body
and put it inside of Daien-in’s statue of Amida.
The statue has since been called Yokobue Amida
(or the Uguisu Amida). A typically sad ancient love story.


Sankeien Tomyoji Sanjunoto 7843


Sankeien Tomyoji Sanjunoto 7986

The Sanjunoto (3-story pagoda) from the former Tomyoji (Kyoto) was moved to Sankeien in 1914.
It is the oldest pagoda in the Kanto region (eastern central Japan). Tomyoji (Tomyo temple) was
built in 755 by Emperor Shomu and was one of the oldest temples in Japan. Tomyoji and the
pagoda were rebuilt in 1457. It is an example of Muromachi period (1336-1557) architecture.


Sankeien Tomyoji Sanjunoto 7839

This was an unusual opportunity... I was presented with an exquisite
Muromachi sanjunoto in beautiful light that was not surrounded by a
crowd. An absolutely unreal experience that I took full advantage of.
I have provided several views of this pagoda including detail shots.


Sankeien Tomyoji Sanjunoto 7844


Sankeien Tomyoji Sanjunoto 7955

Detail of the upper story and the finial.


Sankeien Tomyoji Sanjunoto 7850

I was in Japan for two weeks and saw a number of superb pagodas,
but this was the first time I had seen one in a situation where I could get
good photographs in perfect low angle light with a nice background.
I was absolutely ecstatic and took full advantage of the opportunity.


Sankeien Tomyoji Kondo 7938

This was the Kondo (main hall) of the former Tomyoji temple in Kyoto.
It was also built in Muromachi style during the reconstruction of the temple in 1457.
An Important Cultural Property, it was bought, restored and transported to Sankeien in 1988.


Sankeien Tomyoji Kondo 7935 detail

The difference between a Kondo and a Hondo is primarily the size.
The kondo (golden hall) was the earlier style main hall of a temple, used for
halls built between the Asuka period (538-710) and the Heian period (794-1185).
They were generally small halls and worshipers stood outside the building.
The later Hondo (main hall) included space for worshipers inside.
This one is small, but was built in the later period. It acted as
a Kondo, but is also called a Hondo based on the period.


Sankeien Tokeiji Sanctum 7870

This was the Butsuden (1634) of Tokeji in Kamakura.
An Important Cultural Property, it became a refuge for
abused women (they were freed from the marriage).

Tokeiji was a former Amagozan nunnery, founded in
1285. It is known as the “divorce temple”. In early Japan
it was difficult for wives to divorce, but after staying at
Tokeiji for 3 years women became officially divorced.


Sankeien Old Yanohara House 7862

Note the flame-shaped window of the Yanohara House.
The mid-Edo-period house was moved from the UNESCO
World Heritage Site of Shirakawago. It is a rare example
of a shoin-style zashiki (audience room) attached to a
farmhouse. No nails were used in the construction.


Sankeien Tokeiji Sanctum detail 7858

A 1500 x 1200 detail crop of the Tokeiji Sanctum.

The Tokeiji Temple in Kamakura was founded by Kakusan-ni, widow of Hojo Tokimune, the 8th Regent
of the Kamakura Shogunate. It was customary at the time for a woman to enter a nunnery upon her husband’s
death, so she decided to open the temple and dedicate it to the memory of her husband. She also made it a refuge
for battered wives, which for nearly 600 years was allowed to officially divorce women from abusive husbands
after they stayed there for three years. In 1873, the temple lost its ability to concede divorce after the
government approved a new law and the Court of Justice took over the cases. Tokeiji was a
nunnery exclusively from its founding in 1285 until 1902, when the first man was allowed to
enter the temple (a man took the post at the head of the temple, and Tokeiji became a
sub-temple of Engakuji). Tokeiji before this had always had very important women
acting as chief nun, including Toyotomi’s and Emperor Go-Daigo’s daughters.


Sankeien Kakushokaku Thatch Detail 7826

The former private residence of the Hara family, the Kakushokaku is one of three buildings
designated as Tangible Cultural Properties by the City of Yokohama. Built in 1909, it was thatched
in traditional style and is maintained beautifully. This image shows details of traditional Japanese thatching.


Sankeien Teisha Bridge detail 7988

Detail of the Hinoki (Japanese Cypress) rest area
in the center of the Teisha Bridge (Teisha = rest stop).
This roofed area of the bridge has bench seats where a
passerby can meet and chat with other pedestrians.


Sankeien Teisha Bridge detail 7994

The Teisha Bridge stands near the Rinshunkaku
and Tenzuiji Juto Oido (shown below). The roof is an
example of Edo-period thatched kara hafu arched gable.

Teisha Bridge was designed by Sankei Hara as a copy of the Kodaiji Kangetsu-dai Bridge.
Kangetsu-dai was originally built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi for Fushimi Castle, where it was used
by Toyotomi as a spot where he could sit and view the moon. Sankei Hara copied the Kara Hafu
style and used thatching techniques designed to mimic those used in the 16th-17th centuries.


Sankeien Toyotomi Tenzuiji Juto Oido 7976

Tenzuiji Juto Oido (1591) built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the courtyard of Daitokuji temple, Kyoto to give
thanks for his mother’s recovery from a long illness. An Important Cultural Property, it is one of the very few
buildings in existence that can be attributed with certainty to Toyotomi, one of the three great unifiers of Japan.


Sankeien Roof Tiles 7968

Roof tile detail on the Rindoan, a Tea Room donated by the Sohen-ryu Rindokai.


Sankeien Onigawara 8014


Sankeien Gate Detail Onigawara 7970

Kaigan Gate (with Onigawara tiles) near the Plum Garden.

Onigawara are roof tiles or statues depicting the fearsome Oni (troll/ogre) of Japanese folklore (Kawara = roof tile).

In the Nara and Heian periods, end tiles were usually
decorated with floral designs, but by the Kamakura period
these tiles became Oni and three dimensional. Onigawara
are often found on roofs of temples (see the Toji page and
the Tenryuji section for other images of Onigawara tiles).

The color of these images is due to the heavy shading of this area of the Ryokugaku Bai plum garden after the sun had fallen below the ridge (Sankeien is in a series of valleys near the water in Yokohama).


Sankeien Stupa Lantern 7855


Sankeien Ryokugaku Bai 8007

A sazanka camellia stands next to a small ishidoro
stone lantern and chozu wash basin with bamboo ‘faucet’.


Sankeien Rinshunkaku 7983

(Spring-Viewing Pavilion)

The Rinshunkaku is the most important building in Sankeien. It was the Iwade Palace,
built in 1649 by Tokugawa Yorinobu, Daimyo (feudal lord) of Kishu Province, and it is typical of
villas built by feudal lords in the early part of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It was rebuilt at Sankeien in 1915.
The sukiya-zukuri villa once stood along the Kinokawa river and acted as the second home of the daimyo.
Sukiya = refined taste and delight in elegant pursuits, and refers to buildings designed for the tea ceremony.


Shanghai Yokohama Yukoen Gyokurancho 8037

Part of the Shanghai/Yokohama Friendship Park
just outside the South Entrance to Sankeien,
the Gyokurancho is an arbor building.


Shanghai Yokohama Yukoen Gyokurancho 8039

Gyokurancho means White Magnolia Arbor. The
White Magnolia is the city flower of Shanghai,
who donated the building to Yokohama.


Shanghai Yokohama Yukoen Koshintei Arbor 8026


Shanghai Yokohama Yukoen Koshintei Arbor 8030

Situated at the end of the quai is the Koshintei arbor.


Shanghai Yokohama Yukoen Koshinte Arbor 8033

Yokohama and Shanghai are sister cities. Shanghai donated the park for the
15th anniversary of the friendship of the two cities, and donated the buildings as
 well. This is a highly-detailed (715kb) image of the roof of the Koshintei arbor.

Return to the top of this page


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.


There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection


Return to the Scenery Index page


Return to the Master Index on the Japan Select page.