THE FACTS :
WHO DONE IT?
The garden is not ascribed to one designer, although common belief is that
Soami (1480?-1525), a leading monochrome artist of the age also associated
with Daisen-in, made the garden. Contradictory temple records indicate
other makers, while the back of one stone is inscribed with the names of
Kotaro and Hikojiro, who were probably workers that did the actual
construction and perhaps even helped in designing it.
The records contain more information about the temple buildings.
The main building was burned in 1789 and a substantially larger structure
was moved here from another site. It seems that the east side of the
garden had to be shortened to make room for a new gate that was added at
the same time. In 1977-1978, both the roof of this replaced building and
the garden wall were repaired. The clay-tiled roof of the wall was
replaced with one of cedar shingles, and the texture of the wall was
The garden consists of a flat, rectangular surface of raked white
sand with fifteen rocks scattered about singly and in clusters. It seems
to represent the ocean with islands protruding above its surface. The
garden's elimination of trees and plants and its overall simplicity is
reminiscent of abstract art. It may well be compared to a scroll of
calligraphy or to a painting in the splashed-ink style of sumi-e.