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Katsura Rikyű
URL:Goto this web site  http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/guide/katsura.html 
Name:Katsura Rikyű garden photo
Photo: Lynn Perry

Alternate Name:Katura, Katsura Rikyu, Katsura Detached Palace, Katsura Imperial Villa 
Address:Ukyo-ku, Katsura, Shimizu-cho 
Mailing Address: 
Postal Code: 
Latitude/Longitude:lat=35.05; long=135.667
Find Gardens Nearby
Designer(s):Prince Toshihito and son, Toshitada 
Contruction Date:1620-c.1658 
Hours:Tours at 10am and 2pm on every day except Saturday afternoon, Sundays, national holidays and New Years (Dec 25-Jan 5) 
Added to JGarden:1/1/1996 
Last Updated:4/3/2005 
JGarden Description:All visitor's must obtain permission in advance from the Kyoto office of the Imperial Household Agency (located on the grounds of the Gosho).
The Katsura Imperial Villa is considered the epitome of the stroll garden. Originally known as Katsura Sanso, this was the estate of Prince Toshihito(1579-1629), brother of Emperor Goyozei (1571-1617) and member of the Hachijonomiya family. His son, Toshitada added the villa buildings and made some changes to the garden. The final piece, Miyukiden was added 1658 when Emperor Gomizuno (1596-1680) visited. It is one of three Imperial Villas (the others being Sento Gosho and Shugakuin).

Katsura used to be attributed to Kobori Enshu, but while his influence is clear, he probably did not direct the design or construction. The two princes were, however, assisted by two of Enshu's brothers.

Now considered the prototypical stroll garden, it was actually conceived as a very large roji based on the tea garden style of the time and shows the characteristic flagstone and stepping stone paths, stone lantern and tsukubai stone wash basin.

Other Resources
There is an excellent series of articles by JGC Corporation on the design engineering of Katsura that include analyses of techniques, overall design, path engineering and the systems that allow Katsura to operate: 

Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto
Only in the cloister
Could such a garden thrive, a soil where nature
    Flowers in spiritual dryness,
Drawing an interior nurture
    From sand and rock.

Where the labyrinth of illusion
    No longer entangles the senses
Enmeshing vision in delusive lusters;
Where the lust of the eyes is silenced
And desire of forms, and names of forms,
    Move to no visible end.

Those who planted here
Sowed no ephemeral seed
For the seasonal tempests to scatter,
But the silent root that ripens in detachment,
    Flowers in renunciation.

Gardeners of eternity,
Those who planted here
    Framed the garden in the image of a desert
    And the desert in the image of a sea --
Then shrunk the seas to the mind's salt and, tasting,
    Dissolved all thought away.

On these rocks no water breaks. Without attrition
Tides and currents in this ocean rest and revolve
    In a void of sound, vortex of sand; perpetual
Circles enmesh and paralyzed sea and air:
The effigy of time and measure
    Purged of time and measure

Becalmed on this dead sea of being
No wave moves, no wind of desire
    Flexes the indolent sail.
But focussing its single eye
On dreamless immobility
The gulf like a burnished mirror
    Regards the empty void.

In this dead sea of vision the surges
Merge without movement; the tides
Indifferent to flood and ebb
    Freeze in a flux of haste.
The seagull without motion
Broods on the changeless waste,
Then sinks, his feathers frozen,
    In a sand ocean.

Frail caravels who sail
This subtle gulf, morte mer,
Who stir with urgent keel
The fossil waters of the Great Mirage,
    Or steer by lodestone to delusive ports:

In this calm beyond stasis, dead calm,
No compass points to the land,
    No magnet of attachment
    Guides the helmsman's hand
Through fifteen naked rocks in raked and rhythmic sand.

Here is no sea for the admirals,
The whalers, the merchants of cargoes --
    Those finite venturers for the temporal haven.
These depths are destination,
And naufrage sweeter than harbor.
    Shipwreck is haven on this inland sea.

  John M. Steadman
  20th Century

©1996-2002, Robert Cheetham; ©2018 Japanese Garden Research Network, Inc.
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