Okakura Tenshin

Okakura Tenshin Monument

Just a short walk, less than a kilometer away from Akakura Hot Spring, lies a serene and secluded garden adorned with a six-sided building at its center. Known as the Rokkakudo, meaning “hexagonal hall,” this structure was constructed in 1959 as a tribute to the renowned art historian and philosopher, Okakura Tenshin (1862–1913). If you have ever marveled at a Japanese woodblock print or been captivated by the beauty of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, you may owe a part of that experience to Okakura and his influential writings.

Born into a family involved in the silk trade in Yokohama, Okakura learned English at a local mission school before delving into the study of Chinese classics at Choenji Temple. His academic journey led him to Tokyo Kaisei School, one of the two colleges that later merged to form the prestigious University of Tokyo. Initially, his bachelor’s thesis, titled “Theory of State,” met an unfortunate fate when it was destroyed during a dispute with his wife. Undeterred, Okakura swiftly penned his second attempt, “Theory of Art,” in a mere two weeks, a work that would shape his future endeavors.

Throughout his illustrious career, Okakura dedicated himself to preserving and promoting traditional Japanese art in the face of the country’s rapid modernization and the influence of the West. He became part of the Ministry of Education and established several art institutes to foster art education. In 1904, he was appointed as a curator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, expanding his impact beyond Japan’s borders. His written works in English, including “The Book of Tea” (1906), played a pivotal role in introducing the profound aesthetics of the Japanese tea ceremony to the Western world.

In the later years of his life, Okakura often sought solace in his mountain villa at Akakura Hot Spring, where he eventually passed away in 1913. To commemorate his significant contributions to art and culture, the Rokkakudo and its surrounding monuments were erected. Within the hall, a precious gold-enameled bust of Okakura is enshrined, honoring his enduring legacy.

Please note that the Rokkakudo park remains closed during winter due to heavy snowfall.

Other places to visit
Food Tour

Food Tour

Meet locals, and experience the traditional cuisine of the area. Various tastings and hands on experiences.

Arai Matsuri

Arai Festival

Arai Festival is a large annual festival that is held each year in the beginning of August. Over 4,000 local people participate in the festival.

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