of tea, architecture, garden design, calligraphy and poetry, he was a multi-talented
leader of early Edo culture
Enshu was initially in the service of Hideyoshi's brother Hidenaga, but after that lord's death he aligned himself with Hideyoshi himself. Then, on Hideyoshi's death, he entered the service of Tokugawa Ieyasu.
In 1604, Enshu's father died suddenly leaving him in possession of the state of Omi, valued at 12,000 koku. He successfully completed works on the Sento Palace (the emperor's residence) and at Sunpu Castle, and was rewarded with the marshalcy of Omi. He also designed and constructed the keep of Nagoya Castle, Matsuyama Castle, and the study in the central enceinte of Fushimi Castle. Finally he built the central enceintes of the shogunal castle at Nijo-jo (in Kyoto) and of Osaka Castle.
His greatest claim to fame is as a tea master. He studied under Sen Rikyu's student Furuta Oribe, evolving a style of tea known as 'refined austerity', which aspired to fuse the classical court taste with that of the newer military elite. His role was pivotal in creation of the early modern tea ceremony, with its emphasis on self-cultivation and Confucianism.
Enshu designed many tea houses including the Hoden-seki in the subtemple of Koho-an at the Daitoku-ji, and the Mitsuan-seki at the Ryuko-in of the same temple. He was tea advisor to the shogunal family for fully 36 years.
Enshu's talents were many, and ran to garden design, architecture, calligraphy and poetry.