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Horikawa-in

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  • Japanese: 堀河院 (Horikawa-in)

The Horikawa-in was a Heian period aristocratic mansion, located near the intersection of Nijô-dôri and Horikawa-dôri in Kyoto.

The site, 120 meters from east to west and 250 meters from north to south, covers the two blocks 9-chô and 10-chô of Sakyô 2-bô. Kanpaku Fujiwara Mototsune (836-891) built a mansion here, using the main building primarily for public events. When banquets or the like were held, the oxcarts of the nobles (kugyô) were lined up on the east side of the Horikawa River, and the oxen were tied up to the guardrails of the Nijô-Horikawa bridge. Many poems were written about the beauty of the pond at this mansion.

After Mototsune's death, the Horikawa-in mansion passed to his son, Sadaijin Fujiwara Nakahira, and then through the hands of his daughters, passed to Kanpaku Fujiwara Kanemichi. His daughter Teruko became empress to Emperor En'yû, and so the mansion eventually became that of the Retired Emperor En'yû.

The time when the Horikawa-in was most in the limelight was when it became the sato-dairi, or Removed Palace, of Emperor Horikawa. He died there in the 7th month of 1107.

Later, in the early Kamakura period, Fujiwara Kujô Yoshitsune, Sesshô Sadaijin, and famous poet, had his mansion on the site of the Horikawa-in.

In 1205, Fujiwara moved to the newly built Nakamikado Kyôgokuden, and left his mansion to Minamoto Michitomo (1171-1227). The reasons for this are not clear, but it may have been related to the fact that, at the suggestion of former Kanpaku Dajô Daijin Fujiwara Motofusa, or Motofusa's daughter Hisako, who was Yoshitsune's wife, Michitomo adopted his young half-brother, the Zen monk Dôgen (1200-1253). Or, it could be that Yoshitsune just really liked one of Michitomo's poems which reminded him of Hakurakuten (C: Juyi). Or that it was because Michitomo's wife was the daughter of Fujiwara Toshinari, whom Yoshitsune deeply respected, and who was a superb poetess.

Dôgen's mother Ishi was the younger sister of Hisako. Naidaijin Fujiwara Michichika, the father of Michitomo and Dôgen, was unparalleled in his power, and was a superb writer, but when Dôgen was very young, his mother Ishi died. Then, Dôgen was raised in his father's mountain villa, or in the Horikawa mansion of his older brother Michitomo, who had adopted him. He took the tonsure and became a monk at the age of 13. Michitomo ascended to the post of Dainagon. He belonged to the Shin-kokin poetry circles, and was known as an eccentric waka poet and poetry genius. His lineage came to be known as the Horikawa family, and many of his descendents were also great poets.

What happened to the mansion at Nijô-Horikawa after the time of Michitomo is unclear. The site today is home to the ANA Hotel Kyoto.

References

  • Plaques on-site.

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