This post is also available in: Chinese (Traditional)
There are many different styles of Japanese gardens, but the type affected by Japanese buddhist thought are called “Jodo Teien (Jodo style garden)”.
“Jodo” means “Paradise” or “Pure Land”. As you can imagine from its name, Jodo style gardens are meant to replicate paradise by using ponds, islands, bridges and temple halls called “Amidado”.
In Jodo Teien gardens, the amidado is the temple hall made to save people. Paradise is the world where those wishes come true, the world where those who believe shall be saved.
The bridge connected to the central island represents a connection between this world to paradise. People can enter paradise by walking across this bridge.
Stones are the symbol of eternity. Water is the source of all life and washes away and cleans everything. In many religions and countries all across the world, people have used water to differentiate between holiness and cleanliness from evil and dirtiness.
“People cross the river Styx and go to the after world when they die.” As many Japanese believe, there is always water such as a river or pond between the present world and the after world.
It is said that, at its peak, there were 40 buildings and more than 500 monks working at Motsu-ji.
After Fujiwara, the founder of this area and the one who built these temples, died out, all the buildings were burnt down. Miraculously, the Jodo style garden has been preserved perfectly and is designated as a national special site of special scenic beauty.
This temple is famous for the Jodo style garden centered around the pond within which Amidado hall stands on an island. By excavation and research since 1900, a sandy beach was found and consequently revived and preserved. The beautiful reflection of the Amidado hall helps make people imagine paradise. This Amidado was built in 1053 and is a very precious site, having been built by noble men during the Heian period.
There is an Amidado building built in the Heian period along with a three storey pagoda and Jodo style garden in the temple precinct.
This garden is made very close to the typical techniques of the Jodo style. It makes for a quiet and deep scenery.
In autumn, you can see the garden colored beautifully by the colored leaves!