Kurodani, Konkai-Komyoji Temple
Gardens called “Shiun-no-niwa” and “Goen-no-michi” were created surrounding a pond called O-ike (Yoroi-ike), which lies in the northeast of Ohojo of Konkai-Komyoji Temple, the head temple of the Jodo sect. There is a description about this pond in “Miyako-meisho-zue,” a guidebook written in the middle of the Edo period.
The “Shiun-no-niwa” was created to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the death of Honen Shonin, the founder of the Jodo sect. It is a Japanese dry garden in which the life of Honen, and people related to him, was expressed using stones of varied sizes. The garden is covered with white sand and hair moss, and composed like a picture scroll showing Honen’s life. From the perspective of Ohojo, on the right his childhood in Mimasaka (Okayama prefecture), on the left his ascetic training period in Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple, and in the middle the period of establishing the Jodo sect and the rise of the temple are expressed respectively.
The Goen-no-michi was created as a garden expressing “Goen” (a connection), which is one of the basic concepts of Buddhism advocated by Honen. In the garden, two paths are connected into one path, which represents the concept of connection, in which two persons meet each other and live together.