Ukimido Lake Biwa Katada Karasaki



Daruma Pilgrims Gallery


Lake Biwa  琵琶湖 and Ukimido Hall

at Katata Town

This small hall is part of the temple Mangetsu-Ji 満月寺, Temple of the Full Moon. It is part of the artistic tradition of Japan since olden times.

The Floating Hall for Moon Viewing, Ukimi Doo 

I saw a special on TV about this hall last night. They had lit it up with candles only. Inside is a statue of Amida Buddha surrounded by 1000 small wooden, but gilded statues. They all shimmered in the pure candle light and seen from a boat a bit afar you could really feel like being in the Buddhist Paradise of Amida in the West.

CLICK for enlargement
© Photo : kogatasen.com


鎖 ( じやう ) 明けて月さし入れよ 浮御堂
joo akete tsuki sashireyo Ukimi Doo

let us open the lock
and have the moon shine in -
Floating Hall

Tr. Gabi Greve

open the lock
let the moon shine in —
Floating Temple

Tr. Barnhill

yasuyasu to idete izayou tsuki no kumo

he came out so easily
but now he hesitates -
moon in the clouds

Matsuo Basho, on the night of the 16th
Basho visited Katada in October, 1690 and fell ill.

Japanese sources quote the 16th of August 1691, Lunar Calendar.

Basho had been at the temple Gichu-Ji 義仲寺 to view the moon on the 15th. Next day, on the 16th day of the lunar month, they went to the Floating Hall. 元禄4年(1691年)8月16日

. MORE - izayoi hokku by Matsuo Basho .
- - - - - Katata Izayoi no Ben 堅田十六夜の弁


CLICK for original LINK
Part of the 1000 Amida Statues
© PHOTO : www.pref.shiga.jp

Collection of Basho paintings 芭蕉翁絵詞伝
source : www.bashouan.com

ooji oya mago no sakae ya kaki mikan

grandfather, father,
grandchildren all flourishing -
persimmons, mikan oranges

Tr. Gabi Greve

Written in 1691元禄4年8月. Basho age 48.
Basho had been invited to the villa of a very rich person named 兎苓 Torei in Katata 堅田. This is a greeting hokku to congratulate his host to his riches. The garden was full of trees with colorful fruit.


CLICK for original LINK
© PHOTO : www.ohmigallery.com / Ross Walker


The Hall is said to have been built by the priest Eshin 恵心 during the Chotoku years (995-99) to pray for safety on the lake and the welfare of the people. It has been the theme of haiku and ukiyoe prints from ancient days, including a famous haiku by Matsuo Basho.
The present Ukimido was rebuilt in 1937, and some details differ from the one in the picture.

Look at the photo of the old building HERE


CLICK for more photos
Print by Tsuchiya Koetsu

Went down through the old neighborhood of Katata to the water's edge to visit the Ukimido at Mangetsuji, one of the most subtly beautiful I've ever seen (it's in the Omi Hakkei (Eight Views of Omi (Traditional name for Lake Biwa) 'Katata Rakugan' view by Hiroshige)).

I'd never been to Mangetsuji before, though I'd seen it from out on the Lake, its famous building (the Ukimido) built out over the water on stilts; what a breathgiving place upon entering it; the gate, pines, garden, the view from the Ukimido, the general ambience, bespeak and beget a spiritual peace known too rarely these days; where are the times when one could have envisioned such a thing as this, and then built it?

And then as at dusk you walk along the platform around the weathered building, turn, and, with your back to the broad sweep of the sunset water, look into the thus-greater dark of the Ukimido's interior: slowly, dozens of golden Buddhas shine to life in your changing eyes!
© PureLandMountain.com

The Eight Views of Omi (近江八景 or Omi Hakkei)
The evening rain at Karasaki (唐崎の夜雨) - Karasaki Shrine.
Karasaki ist a small cape with a singele big pinetree, a hitotsu-matsu. The pine has been replaced several times since Hiroshige's times.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

. Famous HAKKEI 八景 Eight Views of Japan .


Ando Hiroshige, Katada no Rakugan
"Descending Geese at Katada"

安藤広重 「堅田の落雁」

mizuumi mo kono hen ni shite tori wataru

Takahama Kyoshi 高浜虚子


比良三山 雪さしわたせ 鷲の橋 
Hira Mikami yuki sashiwatase sagi no hashi

Mount Hira, Mount Mikami
almost as covered with snow
by a bridge of the herons

Basho 芭蕉
He stood in the middle with Mount Hira 比良岳 in the west and Mount Mikami in the east and the herons flying above him. Now there is the gread Biwako Bridge 琵琶湖大橋 right in front of this scene.
Mikami san is also called the "Fuji of Omi".

byoogan no yosamu ni ochite tabine kana

Matsuo Basho falling ill at the temple 本福寺 Honpuku-Ji in Katata
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


病雁も 残らで春の 渚かな 
byoogan mo nokorade haru no nagisa kana

Takakuwa Rankoo 高桑蘭更(たかくわらんこう)

samidare no amadare bakari Ukimi Doo

only falling rain
of the rainy season -
the Floating Hall

Awano Seiho 阿波野 青畝

External LINKS

Japanese, With Many Photos

More Photos !

Temple Shozui-Ji 祥瑞寺 and more Japanese haiku of the area


. Matsuo Basho visiting - Gichuuji 義仲寺 Gichu-Ji - .

. Kiso Yoshinaka 木曾義仲 .
Minamoto no Yoshinaka 源義仲 and his grave at this temple Gichu-Ji.
The Chinese characters 義仲 can be read Gichuu too.


Katata Town at Lake Biwa
(Katada 堅田(かただ) is another spelling)
The town next to the Ukimido Hall, now Otsu Town, Shiga prefecture.

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

It is famous also for the delicious crucian carp
Katadabuna, Katata buna 堅田鮒(かただぶな)Carassius cuvieri Temminck


totonohishi haru ya Katata no uki kamome

spring is now
well under way ... at Katata
the swimming sea gulls

Murazawa Kafuu 村沢夏風 (1918 - 2000)


inazuma ya Katada-domari no yoi no sora

lightning !
the night-sky at Katata
where I spend the night

. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .


Katata ni wa yuube ni tukinu shijimijiru

I arrived at night
at the town of Katata ...
corbicula miso soup

Yamashita Kimio 山下樹実雄

Shijimijiru ... kigo for all spring



Karasaki Town からさき【唐崎/辛崎】
at Lake Biwa

CLICK for more photos
The pines of Karasaki are another of the famous eight landscapes of Omi (omi hakkei 近江八景) Eight Views of Omi Province.

In the Karasaki Shrine compounds 唐崎神社 in Otsu City are many old pines, including the one most famous Reimatsu 霊松, one of the three famous old pine trees of Japan.
A sprout of this tree is in the famous Park Kenroku-En in Kanazawa (Ishikawa prefecture).
. . . CLICK here for Photos of Karasaki Shrine !
This tree has been planted by Ushimaro no Sukune 宇志丸宿禰 in about 650, when the shrine was used as a kind of hospital for sick women and his wife lay there. He also named the compounds Karasaki.
It was called Nokishita no Matsu 軒下の松 (pine tree by the eaves of the house (?nobika no matsu), because it was very small. It is Pinus thunbergii, a Japanese black pine. It broke down during the great taifun in 1581 and has been replanted in 1591, so the tree we see today, supported by more than 350 poles, is the second generation tree.

fan painting

Karasaki no matsu wa hana yori oboro nite

the pine of Karasaki
is even hazier than
the cherry blossoms

Tr. Gabi Greve

Pine-tree of Karasaki,
more dim and vague
than the cherry-blossoms.

Tr. Blyth

Famous places visited by
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


Karasaki no matsu wa doo mita kaeru kari

the pines of Karasaki,
how did they see them?
returning geese

Kobayashi Issa (1814)
Tr. David Lanoue

CLICK for original LINK and more
Karasaki in evening rain / 唐崎の夜雨
Hanga woodblock print by Ando Hiroshige


karasaki no ame yo sate mata hototogisu

it's raining
at Karasaki, and yes
a nightingale

Tr. Chris Drake

Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶
. Discussing this Hokku - by Chris Drake .

唐崎夜雨 安藤広重 Night Rain at Karasaki by Hiroshige


observance kigo for late summer

Karasaki mairi 唐崎参 (からさきまいり) Karasaki pilgrimage
Karasaki no harai 唐崎の祓(からさきのはらい)purification at Karasaki
Karasaki no sennichi mairi 唐崎の千日参(からさきのせんにちまいり)Karasaki pilgrimage of 1000 days
Karasaki matsuri 唐崎祭(からさきまつり)Karasaki festival

July 28 and 29
At the shrine Karasaki Jinja 唐崎神社 with its famous pine tree.

People perform the rituals for the summer purification, like walking through the sacred ring 茅の輪 chi no wa, and floating ritual paper dolls 人形流し hitogata nagashi, to wash away their sins.
There is also a huge goma 護摩 fire ritual.
It is a very old festival, already mentioned in the Tales of Genji 源氏物語.

fireworks on the lake during the festival
mitarashi matsuri みたらし祭 Purification Festival

The mitarashi dango みたらし団子 dumplings are also famous.
The shrine since olden times was a place where the emperor of Japan could perform purification rituals (washing his hands - mitarashi) -
at the Nanase no haraisho 七瀬祓所 purification plase at Nanase.

. Summer Purification Ceremony (nagoshi) .


Karasaki Shrine amulets

A straw ring amulet to hang in the toilet.
It prevents diseases of the lower part of the body, like female problems, hemorrhoides, bladder diseases and more.
It helps only one year, so you have to buy a new one every year, best during the summer purification festival.
This dates back to the wife of Ushimaro no Sukune, see above.

This Karasaki shrine is part of the larger complex of
Hiyoshi Taisha - Hie Taisha 日吉大社 the Grand Hiyoshi Shrine.

source : hiyoshitaisha.jp/karasaki

. WKD : Hiyoshi Shrine (日吉大社 Hiyoshi taisha) .
and its festivals

. Amulets and Talismans from Japan . 


Lake Biwa in Florida, USA

The Lake Biwa location is on the entrance road to the Morikami Museum and Gardens.
- source : www.morikami.org

lake biwa ~
a man feeds marshmallows
to the young gators

- Shared by Shawn Lee Whitney -
Haiku Culture Magazine, 2013


WKD: Namu Amida Butsu, the Amida Prayer

WKD: Basho and "Oku no Hosomichi" ... 2007

. PLACENAMES used in Haiku

Daruma Pilgrims in Japan



anonymous said...

Gabi san,
Thank you for your precious information on Biwa Lake.
Following your guide, I could enjoy Ukimidoo Gallery that is very wonderful with English.

facebook said...

This is beautiful Gabi.
Thank you for the mini pilgrimage & a new dreaming spot.
Michele Harvey

Gabi Greve said...

biwakō no / yo ya samisen no / oto arare

Matsuo Basho

Anonymous said...

The Eight Views of Omi (近江八景 or Omi Hakkei)

The returning sailing ship at Yabase (矢橋の帰帆) - Yabase.

The evening glow at Seta (勢多(瀬田)の夕照) - The Chinese Bridge at Seta.

The autumn moon at Ishiyama (石山の秋月) - Ishiyama Temple.

The clear breeze at Awazu (粟津の晴嵐) - Awazuhara.

The evening bell at Mii (三井晩鐘) - Mii-dera.

The evening rain at Karasaki (唐崎の夜雨)

The wild geese returning home at Katata (堅田の落雁) - Ukimido.

The evening snow at Hira (比良の暮雪) - Hira Mountains. H


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

sennichi mairi omamori 千日参, sennichi moode 千日詣 pilgrimage of 1000 days

Gabi Greve said...

waka no toku 和歌の徳 - kishin 鬼神 "Demon Deity"
Once the pine at Karasaki was about to wither but through the power of Waka poetry the Kishin was moved and helped it to regain its lush green color.