The Matsumoto Sake Brewery in Kyoto’s Fushimi area is a company with a longstanding history that has provided premium quality sake for over two centuries since its founding in 1791.
In one area of this sake brewery site, there is a guest house called Mangyo-in (Hall of Ten Thousand Sunrises) that was completed in 1954 and a dry landscape garden called Gabo-en（Pleasure Boat Garden). The name Mangyo-in derives from the fact that it took thirty years, or roughly 10,000 days, from its planning until its completion. Likewise, the name “Gabo” means a pleasure boat decorated with various ornaments, and this garden was named Gabo-en in the hope that people would look at it with the same feeling as they would look at the scenery surrounding a boat.
The entrance area was relocated from Shoden-in, a sub-temple of Kennin-ji Temple that was restored by tea devotee Oda Uraku and whose beauty and Jo-an tearoom were renowned during the Edo period (1603-1868). Inside the garden, there are historical stone items that company president Yasuhiro Matsumoto’s grandfather and father collected over nearly thirty years, including an Oribe-type stone lantern*, a Taiko stone** hand washing basin, and an Asuka period stone structure*** used as a foundation stone, and famous stones such as Kurama and Kibune stones set throughout the garden. When looking at Gabo-en from Mangyo-in’s tatami mat reception room (zashiki), the waterfall stone arrangement at the back of the garden’s center and the dry stream expressed using white sand impart a dynamic feeling of nature. Finally, the richly expressive pine trees, old red plum blossoms and pomenagranate trees, azaleas and moss, and other beautiful plants render an emotionally stirring garden scene that soothes visitor’s spirits.
*Oribe-type stone lantern: The style of stone lantern design favored by the famous tea master Furuta Oribe (1544-1615).
**Taiko stone: A stone said to have greatly pleased warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi when offered to him by villagers as a seat to take a rest upon. Taiko (or “”Grand Chancellor””) is a reference to the title bestowed upon Toyotomi by Japan’s imperial court.
***Asuka stone structures: Japan’s Asuka period (592-710) is known for having produced many stone structure forms.
Location: Fushimi-ku, Kyoto
Accessibility: not open to the public, usually
Garden construction period: in 1954
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