The Ōhashi-ke garden is a private garden in the traditional Fushimi Inari neighborhood in southern Kyoto. It has a special surprise for its visitors: A Suikinkutsu (水琴窟), a musical instrument in the garden. A Suikinkutsu is a jar that is buried in the earth below a water feature. This is the oldest Suikinkutsu in Kyoto. As the water trickles from the basin through a layer of gravel and into the jar, the sound of the water drops are echoed by the walls of the jar. Listening to this soothing sound is said to have a cooling effect on the listener - very welcome on Kyoto's hot summer days.
We arrived on a sunny Sunday morning and were greeted by the white-haired Ōhashi-san, the owner of the garden. His great-grandfather Ōhashi Jinbei had the garden built in 1913 by Kyoto's garden master Ogawa Jihee. Ogawa was the 7th generation of a family of Japanese gardeners. This tradition continues until today - every year, the 11th and 12th generation of the family work for two days with 6 to 7 people in the garden. The garden also features a great number of Japanese stone lanterns.
Suikinkutsu - How it works
Stone lanterns of the garden
The tea house resting arbor
Other points of interest
9 pages with detailed information
43 great pictures and illustrations