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Shōden Sansō

Without my friend and mentor Damien Douxchamps, I would have probably not found this place. A large, 120,000 square-metre estate located in the hillside north of Uji, its history goes back only some 100 years to 1918, the Taishō Period. At the time, Takaya Sōhan (高谷宗範) began constructing the compound as a place dedicated to tea ceremony which would ultimately be finished by 1930. At the entrance, a large sign stating “no entry” warns of poisonous snakes. Not precisely the place you want to peek in without notice…
Shōden Sansō consists of several houses and gardens, all dedicated to tea ceremony. In every corner of the complex, squares and circles can be found as a representation of the Japanese philosophy. While one pillar may be shaped square and its foundation circle, the next pillar may be a circle whereas its foundation a square.
Keeping such a large estate alive requires a tremendous financial amount. Today run as a public interest foundation dedicated to a distinctive Shōden Sansō-style tea ceremony, the estate is only open to 100 visitors per day for two days each in May and November against prior registration. While visits can in principle be arranged during other times of the year as well, this nature of Shōden Sansō unfortunately is reflected in the state of the gardens. Several gardens on the complex are meant to incorporate ponds, but due to the upkeep costs, these remain without water.
Nevertheless, Shōden Sansō is worth visiting repeatedly. Every time, I discover new details in the buildings.

Admission: limited access, reservation required

Shinnyodo 2017.jpg

Autumn perfection.

Early Summer 初夏
Autumn 秋
Architecture and Tea Ceremony 建築と茶道
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