Kyoto, Japan

東海庵 (京都府京都市右京区花園妙心寺町)

Tokai An is one of the 48 sub-temples of Myoshin Ji (妙心寺), and it was founded in 1484. The grounds of the temple were formally a palace for the Emperor Hanazono (花園上皇), but he became a monk, and in 1342, he donated the palace to found the temple. Kanzan Egen (関山慧玄), one of the disciples of Shuho Myocho (宗峰妙超), was the founder. Currently, this temple is not open to the public.

This image shows the very unique chozubachi (手水鉢) – wash bowl/basin for the visitors – made of stone bridge girder. There is a Kasuga-style hexagon garden lantern (春日型六角灯籠) made of stone next to this basin. One of the original purpose for the lanterns are to illuminate the path. Chozubachi was originator used to purify the mouth and the body of the visitor to the sacred places (i.e., temples/shrines), but it is also incorporated into the Japanese Tea Ceremony where the visitors wash their hands and rinse their mouths before they enter the tea room. Greenness of the garden and the water in the basin may echo within the visitor’s soul as he/she sips the tea made of green tea and the hot water.