Serialization about Ueno Park-01 Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple and the “Tsuki no Matsu” (The pine tree of the Moon) (上野公園シリーズ-01 清水観音堂と「月の松」)

Tenkai Sojo (1536~1643), the high priest of the Tendai sect, opened Kan’ei-ji temple in 1625 on the mountain of Ueno, which was donated for a temple by Hidetada TOKUGAWA, the second shogun in the Edo era. He imitated Hieizan Enryakuji Temple as the guardian of Kyoto Imperial Palace’s kimon (northeast) gate, meaning the “Evil Gate,” and built Toeizan Kan’ei-ji Temple as the guardian of Edo Castle’s Kimon (northeast) gate.

He imitated Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto and biult Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple in Ueno in 1631. Because the halls of Kan’ei-ji Temple had been burnt down in the Boshin war, Kiyomizu Kannondo Temple is the oldest existing temple on the mountain of Ueno at the time of its foundation and is designated as a National Important Cultural Property.

And high priest Tenkai used Shinobazu Pond in Ueno to resemble Lake Biwa in Kyoto and called on a deity of Benzaiten from Chikubu-shima Island in Lake Biwa to make a branch shrine, Sinobazu no ike Bentendo.

A pine tree whose branches was bent round in the shape of the Moon is planted in the middle of the front of the stage of Kiyomizu Kannondo. It is called the “Tsuki no Matsu” and was impressively depicted by the Ukiyoe painter, Hirosige Utagawa in the Edo era. The first “Tsuki no Matsu” lost in a typhoon in the Meiji era. The one that is currently in existence is the second generation, and it was reproduced in December 2012. You can see Sinobazu no ike Bentendo through the “Tsuki no Matsu” from the stage. Though the scenery has changed a lot because of many buildings around there, we can enjoy feeling the atmosphere of the Edo era from the view through the “Tsuki no Matsu.