Tour of Misono
  Misono: A Vision of Paradise.
“ create Paradise on Earth...where people have beauty in their hearts, a beauty in the spirit. Words and deeds should embody this beauty. This is beauty at the individual level. And when individual beauty spreads, social beauty comes into being..." Mokichi Okada

The Shigaraki Mountains have been considered sacred since ancient times. It was here that Shumei built its headquarters, Misono. Cradled in a rolling, pine-filled landscape, Misono is a place of extraordinary splendor where manmade and natural beauty converge. The creation of Misono is a tribute to Shumei’s founder, Mokichi Okada’s great vision of an ideal world.
Executed by the sculptor Masayuki Nagare, Heaven's Portals are composed of eight majestic granite columns that rise above a terraced stairway on the approach to Misono's Great Plaza and Meishusama Hall. These sculptured columns form a portal between the worldly and the sacred.
Located to the right as one approaches the Heaven's Portals and Misono's sanctuary area, this shady pathway is an alternate route to the Great Plaza. Most Shumei members use this indirect path on their way to Meishusama Hall. Its cobblestones once formed part of the pavement of the old imperial city of Kyoto. The pathway is lined with a variety of plants and shrubs, including among them wisteria and Japanese maples that delight the eye with deep green, vivid crimson, and purple during the changing seasons of the year.
The Sacred Path leads past a cascading fountain. As he created the Gate of Paradise, Masayuki Nagare also designed this fountain. Before entering the Great Plaza and going deeper into the sanctuary area, it is customary for visitors to wash their hands and mouth with these waters. As those of Lourdes and Bethesda, these waters are believed to have healing powers.
This carillon tower was designed by I.M. Pei, one of the most renowned architects of our time. Mr. Pei's other works include Phases I and II of the Louvre in Paris, with its celebrated glass pyramids, the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, and the Miho Museum, which houses the Shumei Family Art Collection. This 60-meter-high tower has a set of 50 bells that were cast by the Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in The Netherlands. It is our hope that the harmonious sounds of these bells will carry peace and joy throughout the entire world.
At the far end of the Great Plaza, an expanse of 14,000 square meters paved with Italian marble, stands this grand hall, which is dedicated to our founder Meishusama. Completed in 1983, it was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who also designed the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City. Resembling the shape of Mt. Fuji, the structure is supported by just four pillars that curve upward from its base. The structure is an amazing 60 meters in width, 100 meters in length, and 50 meters in height. Yamasaki's design was realized with the aid of his engineering partner, Yoshikatsu Tsuboi, a foremost authority on structural dynamics. Meishusama Hall is a stunning feat of architecture that set a benchmark in structural engineering.
Behind Meishusama Hall is an eight-sided shrine made of white Greek marble. In this shrine the Misono’s most sacred artifact is housed, a scroll created by Shumei’s founder Meishusama. Mounted on this building’s dome is the "Sun Tree", a sculpture by Richard Lippold. Reflecting the light of the sun, the Sun Tree signifies the spreading of Divine Light throughout the world.
When first entering this Hall, one is astonished by its brightness and vast open space. The Hall seats over 5,500 people. Looking up, one sees a ceiling made of glass, which allows daylight to flood into the entire structure. The intricate golden screen that forms a backdrop for the stage was designed by Lee Dusell. The Hall's acoustics are excellent. And on either side of the stage are two musical instruments, to the right a large Taiko drum and to the left a Rodgers concert organ.
  MEISHUSAMA'S HALL The Subterranean Lobby
The lobby below Meishusama Hall has gracefully curving walls. This space serves as an exhibition gallery for art and artifacts. Its subtly expressive lighting was designed by Motoko Ishii.
The calligraphy on the wooden plaque, set high in the center of the facade, reads "Daikokudo", meaning a place dedicated to Miroku Daikoku Tenjin, also known as Daikokusama. Daikokusama is a demigod who brings wisdom, happiness, prosperity, and longevity to humankind. The plaque that hangs above the entrance to this shrine was created by Kaiun Kanitsukasa and Tatsuaki Kuroda.
The plum blossom was the favorite bloom of our founder Mokichi Okada, whom members of Shumei refer to as “Meishusama”, and Shumei uses the blossom’s image often. This plum grove is located to the east of the sanctuary area of the Great Plaza and Meishusama Hall. Every spring the air is redolent with plum blossoms and the eye is delighted by the profuse colors held in the branches of these trees.
Designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the Crystal Bridge spans a ravine between the Great Plaza and the Gate of Paradise. It follows a more direct route than the tree-lined path that leads the visitor past the Cascade. By crossing this bridge, visitors leave Misono’s most sacred area and return to the everyday world.
  THE VILLA MIHO (Saijito)
The architect Junzo Yoshimura and the master carpenter Sotoji Nakamura built the Villa Miho in the style of a traditional Japanese house. The Villa was constructed of rare and old wood, including a pillar from the oldest Horyuji temple in Nara. A section of this house was transferred from a historic, two-hundred-year-old private home. Of special significance is the serenely beautiful tea ceremony room called "Myokoan". The building is used as a reception facility for special occasions.

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