The Temple of the Heavenly Dragon, Tenryu-ji, is a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple nestled in the western mountains of the Arashiyama district in Kyoto. Constructed before the thirteenth century, the temple’s pond garden is one of the first in recorded Japanese history to use “borrowed scenery” (shakkei). “Borrowed scenery” incorporates distant landscape elements into the design in a way that visually enlarges the space. At Tenryu-ji this primarily takes the form of two mountains: Kameyama (Turtle Mountain) and Arashiyama (Storm Mountain), appropriated and integrated into the mix of vegetation, rocks and water.
In his latest article for ZenVita, Edward J. Taylor examines the innovative work of Kobe-based architect, Tomohiro Hata. Tomohiro Hata's designs have won numerous awards both in Japan and overseas and are renowned for their playful use of the natural environment to create homes full of light that are both highly functional and enjoyable to live in.
In his first article for the ZenVita blog, the Kyoto-based garden expert, Mark Hovane, introduces Kyoto's Shinnyo-do temple and explores two separate garden designs there by ZenVita associates Chisao Shigemori and Sone Zoen.
In 2016, Lisa Allen sat down with with award-winning tatami craftsman, Mitsuru Yokoyama. Over the past six years, Mr. Yokoyama has fine-tuned his craftsmanship at Motoyama Tatami in the Daitoku-ji Temple neighborhood, a fourth-generation-shop, which has been in business for over 100 years. Mr. Yokoyama works with the founder, Mr. Motoyama, and son, to provide and install tatami for temples and shrines in Kyoto as well as cater to an increasing demand for tatami abroad.
This week Florentyna Leow returns to the ZenVita blog with a special feature on Hyperart Thomasson, a term first coined by the artist Genpei Akasegawa to describe odd relics in the built environment. Doors that lead nowhere, windows onto walls, pipes that carry nothing, and segments of fences in odd places, all of these seemingly useless architectural leftovers can evoke both amusement and a head-scratching sense of mystery. Come now and join us on a short but enjoyable tour of this unintentional but highly entertaining art.