Osawaike (pond) is situated in the oldest artificial garden in Japan created during Heian period when Daikakuji temple in Kyoto used to be the Imperial Villa of the Emperor Saga. The lake is called “Teiko” since it was created after “Dou Teiko” lake in China. It is created in the typical garden style of the Heian period. Measuring approx. 1 km in circumference, the lake contains two islands and is surrounded by many trees, including cherry blossoms, pines and maple. On the north side, there exists the “remains of Nagoso waterfall” that was mentioned in tanka poems created during the Heian period. It is a famous place for cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves in fall. It is also known for its beautiful view of the moon.
Japan’s oldest artificial garden
Situated in the east of Daikaku-ji temple, Osawaike is Japan’s oldest artificial garden. Around the huge lake, many trees change the colors on their leaves each season. Situated right near the lake, the vermilion tower “Shingyo Hoto” and autumn leaves reflect beautifully on the surface of the lake. There are lotus flowers and carps in the lake. Since the place is well-preserved, you will also hear wild birds singing.
“The remain of Nagoso waterfall” that was mentioned in tanka poems
“The remain of Nagoso waterfall” is the site where the waterfall used to run down more or less 1000 years ago. In the “anthology of one hundred tanka poems” created during the Heian period, Fujiwara no Kinto read his famous poem based on this waterfall. It says, “The waterfall’s sound faded into nothingness a long time ago – but its name has come down still to be heard today.” In fact, the waterfall had already disappeared when this poem was created. It is said that he created this poem from his memory of the beautiful waterfall.
Enjoy autumn in Sagano with “the view of the moon in the evening”
Osawaike is a famous place for watching the moon. In the old Chinese calendar, August 15th is called “Harvest moon.” Therefore, a special boat will circulate on the lake on this day, in order to watch the moon. You will spend a luxurious time on the boat while having green tea and watching the moon. There are also Buddhist memorial services and concerts on the special stage during this period. It is a great event to enjoy the autumn in Sagano.