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about Gyorakuen

history of gyorakuen

The Name "Gyorakuen" is said to come from a phrase in Chinese Shī Jīng.
Sesshu fled from Kyoto where a war had occured and built this garden to express his wish to the peace.


Sesshu was selected as one of the Ten Master Art by Unesco in 1956.
Many of Sesshu's life is unknown. It is said that he was born in Okayama in 1420 and studied at Aikokuji-temple.
He travel to China at the age of 47,returned home at the age of 49 and died at the of 87 in Yamaguchi.

The relationship between Sesshu and Kyushu started when he returned from China.
At that time, Japan was in the middle of Civil war and he was unable to return to Kyoto. He landed near Itoshima and entered Tagawa seeking for the help of Uji and Fujie.
He stayed in Kyushu for about 7 years. There are several gardens built by Sesshu besides "Kyu-Kameishi-Sekibou garden" and Fujie's "Gyorakuen". Most of them are located near Mt Hiko where he spent his days studying and practicing building gardens and ink painting.

designated garden

Gyorakuen was designated as a Scenic spots by Fukuoka Pref in 1978 and is familiar to many people as "Sesshu's Gyorakuen". Particulary, the autumn failage is famous however it's Spring Cherry Blossom and greeny, summer 'forest bath' and winter "wabi" and "sabi" is exceptional. So one can enjoy the garden at any seasons.

The garden is built based on Shinsenhorai ideology and the island in the pond is called Hourai island.
At the back is Zazen-ishi and likened the turtle and crane.
The characteristic of sesshu garden is that the left side is steep and severe and it becomes gently as it goes to the right. Some says that it expresses life or wish to peace.

The garden has two gates, "Goseimon-Gate" and "Yakui-Gate". "Goseimon-Gate" was built exclusively for Lord and " Yakui-Gate" was built to stop arrows or for doctors.
If you go left from "Goseimon", there is a square where an annex of Toyama shrine was used to located. The view of autumn foilage from this point is beautiful.