Shisendo Backgrounder

Construction of Shisendo began in 1640 and was completed in 1641 when Ishikawa Jozan was well into his sixth decade. Envisioned as a quiet retirement villa, he probably did not realize that he would be able to enjoy living there for more than thirty years. Among the many charms of Shisendo is its human scale, near perfect integration of home and garden, and the seamless blend of architectural styles. The idiosyncrasies of the design, such as the combination thatch and tile roof, reflect the individualistic nature of its owner.

The interior features the eponymous room where the walls are lined with the paintings of 36 great Chinese poets, who Ishikawa surely drew upon for inspiration when composing a Chinese style of poetry known as kanshi. Touring Shisendo, one cannot help but appreciate its suitability as an artist’s retreat.

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