Kokōsei is a well where groundwater from the Chichibu Mountains gushes up. Water like this - alkalescent, rich in minerals and calcium - has long been famous in Tokyo. It’s said that this water was salvation for survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 1923.

Can you feel the richness of the water? Aritomo Yamagata was very particular in his handling of "waterscapes," centering his creations around waterfalls and streams. For example, while most Zen gardens have stepping stones called “yakushi,” Yamagata in his particularity decided to construct his garden without it, making his garden all the more unique.

Some of the spring water in this garden was sourced from the former residence of the Tosa clan, Mitsuaki Tanaka. Yamagata considered this water source to be the lifeline of the garden, and negotiated with Tanaka to sign a contract specifying that the water from Tanaka’s residence should never cease to flow to Chinzanso; yet another one of Yamagata’s particularities with water.

Why was Yamagata so particular and went to such lengths regarding the water?

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