Roji (the garden outside a ceremonial tea room) (露地)

Roji is also called Chatei and is the common name of a garden attached to a tea-ceremony room.

(Roji generally indicates the ground without any cover such as a roof.
The term is used to indicate the open culture, openly-cultured strawberries, and so on.)

Roji was originally written as "路地," but the name of '露地' (Roji) appeared in "Nanporoku," a tea book, and so on in the Edo period. This is the word appeared in 'Hiyuhon' (the third chapter) of "Lotus Sutra," which suggests the situation that the tea ceremony of that time aimed at theorization using the Buddhism. It was distributed by the masters of tea ceremony and others in the position to emphasize the Zen sect after that, and today it has been established as the elegant name of a tea garden.

Origin and development
It is said that those simple gardens attached to tea rooms were developed in urban Machiya (a traditional form of townhouse found mainly in Kyoto) (mercantile house) with limited premises, not in temples or others with broad premises. Most of Maguchi (the length of the front facade of a building or frontage of a plot of land from corner to corner) in such Machiya were used by shops, and thereby a long and narrow garden called Toriniwa (unfloored walkway) was developed and then 'Roji,' a passage leading to the tea room was separately created. A diagram of the four-and-a-half-mat tea room of Joo TAKENO's residence in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture, inserted in "Yamanoue Soji ki" (The Record of Soji YAMANOUE), which reveals that this tea room had a dedicated passage called 'Waki no Tsubonouchi' (side passage garden) and a dedicated garden called 'Omote no Tsubonouchi' (front passage garden).
Steppingstones are described in a diagram of the tea room established by Shoei MATSUYA, Nurishi (a maker of lacquer ware and handiworks) in Nara, around the same time, and 'Shogi' (camp stool, folding stool), allegedly a prototype of Machiai (tea house to lend seats and tables, or rooms), is also written ("Matsuya's Secret Writings on Tea Ceremony.")

Construction of tea rooms further flourished in the period of SEN no Rikyu, and all the Sukisha (zen philosopher) of that time exhibited their originality and ingenuity for construction, and so-called Rikyu-style tea rooms were also matured under such circumstances. SEN no Rikyu completed thatched style (country-like) tea in his last years, with pastoral and mountainous sentiment as the subject of expression, in which a tea room would express a farmer's straw-thatched house and a tea garden, a taste of the road to a mountain temple.

Moreover, the material is not sufficient for the origin of Nijiriguchi (crawling entrance), and there is no concrete grounds in the widespread assertion that it was created by Rikyu. However, this Nijiriguchi consequently removed the veranda (a narrow wooden passageway along the edge of a house facing the garden) used as Machiai at Nakadachi (break between the light meal and the actual serving of tea), and Koshikake-Machiai (a simple styled bench for guests to wait for a tea ceremony) was separately set. Furthermore, it is considered that Tsukubai (stone washbasin) was completed also in this period, which replaced Chozubachi (a basin for water to purify before entering shrine).

Anything artificial was avoided in Roji without planting any tree existed in village or town and only the steppingstones and Chozubachi configured the framework of the garden to convey a taste of mountains as natural as possible. Later Ishi-doro (stone lantern) was installed as a light for evening tea parties, the existing Chozubachi and Toro (a garden lantern) used for gardens were preferred to the new creation, and bridge piers, gravestones, and others that no longer needed due to abolition or improvement were reused by the masters of tea ceremony, which were introduced as an important view in the garden. Such configuration of tea rooms was also incorporated in temples and samurai residences with huge premises, and the Chatei stylized as in the current tea ceremony is equipped with Nakakuguri (a type of middle gate used to divide an outer tea garden from an inner tea garden), Koshikake-Machiai, and Tsukubai.

Chanoyu (tea ceremony) and Chatei were nurtured by town people as this, but its content considerably changed when they were under the management of Busho (Japanese military commander), such as Shigenari FURUTA and Masakazu KOBORI who were the disciples of Rikyu and developed Buke sado (tea ceremony of samurai family). Roji became wider partly since they were created in large daimyo gardens (a garden of a feudal lord), in which the changes were added as making a fence or two, and also the visible factors were strengthened. Tsukiyama (small hill) was added in Roji close to Hiraniwa (a flat Japanese garden without hills mainly expressing ocean view), streams and ponds were also created, and additionally Ishi-doro (stone lantern) became an important highlight. There was an aspect that it would touch the tradition of Shinden-zukuri style (architecture representative [characteristic] of a nobleman's residence in the Heian period) garden and the flow of rock arrangement (in Japanese landscape gardening) in Shoin (reception room) garden, and the garden in Katsura Imperial Villa exists as the example of such gardens.

It is said that the creativity was stronger in tea and garden of Oribe and Enshu than in those of Rikyu, who tried to incorporate even his intention in naturalness, while Oribe's intention was pushed out on the surface in view-emphasized Chatei, where large steppingstones and Tatamiishi stone (tatami rocks) were put, but something unusual custom in the nature was sought. Oribe preferred to use hewn stones, especially large ones for steppingstones while small round stones had been used before hand, and showing his style well in the sharp shape of Oribe Toro, allegedly devised by himself, elaborated of a plan installing this 'Oribe Toro,' with full of his creation in Roji as a basin lamp of Tsukubai. Furthermore, the Oribe Toro is also called 'Kirishitan [Christian] Toro' since the image seems to be that of the Virgin Mary engraved on the pole of this lantern, which lead to the speculation that Oribe was Christian, but there is no proof of the image being Mary and Oribe being Christian.

Enshu KOBORI, a disciple of Oribe, known as the master of landscape gardening, forbade overlapping of the flowers in a tea ceremony and those in the garden as it would spoil the interest, consequently it became a custom in most of the later tea ceremony world.

Gardening method of Roji (Chatei)

Practical steppingstones
Practical lanterns

[Original Japanese]