Zuisen-ji (Flower Temple)
Kamakura-shi, Kanagawa-ken Japan
Zuisen-ji is a small temple hidden away in the eastern mountains of Kamakura. The temple’s nickname is ‘flower temple’ and its flower garden in the front of the temple is the most beautiful in Kamakura. It is a branch of the Engaku-ji temple in Kita-Kamakura. Zen priest, poet and garden designer Musō Soseki founded the temple with the support of Nikaidō Dōun, a powerful lord of the Yamanashi area in 1327.
After walking up the steep way to the temple, you can enjoy a breathtaking outlook on the surrounding mountains while resting under a wisteria arbor. This spot is especially famous in autumn when the mountain forests turn a bright yellow, orange and red. The garden seems enchanted – it has lots of gnarled, moss covered trees, overgrowing flowering shrubs and scattered perennials that partially cover old stone lanterns and garden stones.
The rock zen garden in the back was created by its founder and garden designer Musō Soseki. A cave and a pond with islands were carved from the rock of the mountains. Closed for the public, a steeply ascending passageway leads up to the to a meditation arbor and view point.
The temples mountain name (San-go 山号) is Kinpei-zan (錦屏山). The direct translation is Brocade-Wall-Mountain. Zuisen-ji received it because the near mountains around the temple (like a wall) glow bright like brocade in autumn, when the leaves change their colors.