Thursday, November 21, 2002


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! Easy to see why Bassho, Issa, Hiroshige, Hokusai visited here.