banchi ばん池
KEY WORD : architecture / gardens
Also called hanchi 畔池 written with the character ばん池, to indicate a 'halved pond'. Lit. levee pond. A type of garden pond divided into halves by a bridge, and often a central island, nakajima 中島. Banchi are often used in temple gardens, placed between the gate and the main hall to provide a symbolic approach over water. Large-scale banchi with wooden bridges and earthen islands are found at Moutsuuji 毛越寺 in Iwate prefecture, and Eihouji 永保寺 in Gifu prefecture. More common are the smaller banchi with stone bridges traversing shallow thaks as found at Myoushinji 妙心寺 and Tenryuuji 天龍寺 in Kyoto. Banchi, likely Chinese in origin, were introduced to Japan in the Heian period.


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