Arts & Crafts

The third shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu established his residence on Muromachi Street. This residence is nicknamed "Hana no Gosho" (花の御所) or "Flower Palace" (constructed in 1379) because of the abundance of flowers in its landscaping.

Muromachi art with a strong spiritual and aesthetic content

The Muromachi period (室町時代; 1338 - 1573, <i>Muromachi jidai</i>) saw Zen art that influenced the Japan’s aesthetic, following the introduction of the faith by Dogen and Eisai upon their return from China. During the period under the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate rule, a profound change took place in Japanese culture. With the return of government to the capital, the popularizing trends of the Kamakura period came to an end, and cultural expression took on a more aristocratic, elitist character. Because of secular ventures and trading missions to China organized by Zen temples, many Chinese paintings and objects of art were imported into Japan and profoundly influenced Japanese artists working for Zen temples and the shogunate.


水墨画; Ink wash painting is an East Asian type of brush painting. Only black ink—the same as used in East Asian calligraphy—is used, in various concentrations.

This evolution went as far as considering almost any human activity as an art with a strong spiritual and aesthetic content. Not only did these imports change the subject matter of painting, but they also modified the use of color; the bright colors of Yamato-e yielded to the monochromes of painting in the Chinese manner, where paintings generally only have black and white or different tones of a single color. Zen art is mainly characterized by sumi-e (墨絵) a type of painting executed with quick brush strokes and a minimum of detail, striving to express the true essence of the world through impressionistic and unadorned "non-dualistic" representations.


Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺, lit. "Temple of the Silver Pavilion"), officially named Jishō-ji (慈照寺, lit. "Temple of Shining Mercy"), is a Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the constructions that represent the Higashiyama Culture of Muromachi period.

The search for enlightenment "in the moment" also led to the development of other important derivative arts such as sadō (茶道; Japanese tea ceremony), ikebana (生花; flower arranging), Noh drama (), calligraphy (書道), Japanese garden design, and architecture. The Higashiyama Period (東山時代) also known as the period of Higashiyama Bunka (東山文化, Higashiyama Culture) is a segment of Japanese culture originated and promoted by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (足利 義政, 1435 - 1490), after he retired to his villa in the Eastern hills (Higashiyama) of Kyoto. He took up artists regardless of their places of origin, on the other hand, his indecisive attitude toward the succession on his retirement leads to the Ōnin War (応仁の乱, Ōnin no Ran) that lasted 10 years (1467–1477), marks the beginning the Sengoku period (戦国時代, Sengoku jidai "Warring States period").

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Reference Columns

  • 足利 義政, Ashikaga Yoshimasa

    The Higashiyama Period (東山時代) also known as the period of "Higashiyama Culture" or Higashiyama Bunka (東山文化?), is a segment of Japanese culture originated and promoted in the 15th century by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, after he retired to his villa in the eastern hills (Higashiyama) of Kyoto.