I visited Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto last weekend. Kankaku-ji (The golden pavilion) is one of the most iconic site in Kyoto. Autumn is one of the best season to visit there. Autumn colour of maple leaves enhance its beauty. The pond surrounding Kinkaku-ji is called Kyokochi pond (鏡湖池, mirror pond) that reflects Kinkaku-ji on its surface.
There are many articles about Kinkaku-ji available online, so that I don’t write about it here, but would like to touch on “Rikushu-no-matsu (陸舟の松)”.
“Rikushu-no-matsu” is located in the garden of Shoin (Study Hall) at the east side of the Kyokochi pond.
The Japanese white pine tree of “Rikushu-no-matsu” was originally from a Bonsai grown and cared by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (足利 義満, Sept 25, 1358 – May 31, 1408), the 3rd shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate. Yoshimitsu firstly planted the Bonsai tree in the ground, then trained it like a boat shape. As Yoshimitsu grew this from Bonsai by himself, the age of the tree is estimated about 600 years old. As the head of the ship is heading westward, it is said that the ship was made from the idea of heading toward the Buddha’s Land of Bliss in the west.
By the way, one of the reasons came from the recently released film, “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It is a film about Freddie Mercury’s life, a legendary lead singer of Queen. Freddie is known as a Japanophile and things Japanese are seen in some scenes in the film. In one scene, I found an amulet from Kinkaku-ji stuck onto the wall of Fredde’s house! I may have visited there.