Glimpses of Obai-in—a visit to a rarely open-to-the-public, architectural jewel at Daitokuji Monastery. Mar20

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Glimpses of Obai-in—a visit to a rarely open-to-the-public, architectural jewel at Daitokuji Monastery.

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Time and again, over the past 17 years, I had walked by the dark brown gate of Obai-in that frames both the mossy entry garden and the “no admittance” sign. Recently, however, I was finally able to go inside, during a rare public opening. Founded in the late 1500′s, this unusually large sub-temple reveals itself through dramatic wooden corridors, courtyards, mossy green expanses, scroll gardens, tearooms and countless highly crafted architectural details.  The garden in the above image was designed by legendary tea-master, Sen no Rikyu.

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Part of the Rinzai-Zen sect, Obai-in is the home to 44 full-sized fusuma paintings by 16th century artist, Unkoku Togan.  The above painting is part of the series named Seven Hermits in the Bamboo Grove.