Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Mesmerizing Japanese Gardens

Japanese gardens are usually found in private homes, neighbourhoods, and city parks. They can
also be found in historical landmarks such as Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and old castles
around the world. In Japanese culture, garden-making is high art, intimately related to the linked
arts of calligraphy and ink painting.

Japanese gardens were first developed under the influences of the distinctive and stylized
Chinese gardens. The gardening tradition was historically passed down from sensei to apprentice.
In recent decades this has been supplemented by various trade schools.

Enjoy the following mesmerizing collection of Japanese gardens from all over.

Japanese gardens
Honbo Garden – Osaka, Japan
Japanese gardens
Japanese Garden – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Japanese gardens
Ryoan-Ji Zen Garden – Kyoto, Japan

Japanese gardens
Japanese Garden – Cowra, Australia

A catalogue of features typical of the Japanese garden may be drawn up without inquiring
deeply into the aesthetic underlying Japanese practice. Typical Japanese gardens have at their
center a home from which the garden is viewed. In addition to residential architecture,
dependingon the archetype, Japanese gardens often contain several of the following elements:
  • Water, real or symbolic
  • A bridge over the water, or stepping stones
  • Rocks or stone arrangements (or settings)
  • A lantern, typically of stone
  • A teahouse or pavilion
  • An enclosure device such as a hedge, fence, or wall of traditional character

Japanese gardens
Ritsurin Garden – Takamatsu, Japan

Japanese gardens
Monte Palace Tropical Garden (Stone Lanterns) – Madeira, Portugal

Japanese gardens
Daizen-Ji Zen Rock Garden – Kyoto, Japan

Japanese gardens
Japanese Tea Garden – San Francisco, United States

Though often thought of as tranquil sanctuaries that allow individuals to escape from the
stresses of daily life, Japanese gardens are designed for a variety of purposes. Some gardens
invite quiet contemplation, but may have also been intended for recreation, the display of
rare plant specimens, or the exhibition of unusual rocks.

Kaiyu-shiki, or Strolling Gardens, require the observer to walk through the garden to fully
appreciate it. A premeditated path takes observers through a unique area of a Japanese garden.
Uneven surfaces are placed in specific spaces to prompt people to look down at particular

When the observer looks up, they will see an eye-catching ornamentation, which is intended
to enlighten and revive the spirit of the observer. This type of design is known as the Japanese
landscape principle of “Hide and Reveal”.

Japanese gardens
Ginkau-Ji Zen Garden – Kyoto, Japan

Stones are used to construct the garden’s paths, bridges, and walkways. Stones can also
represent a geological presence where actual mountains are not viewable or present. They
are sometimes placed in odd numbers and a majority of the groupings reflect triangular shapes,
which often are the mountains of China.
Japanese gardens
Korakuen Garden – Okayama, Japan

Japanese gardens
Hamilton Gardens – Waikato, New Zealand

A water source in a Japanese garden should appear to be part of the natural surroundings; this
is why we won't find fountains in traditional gardens. Man-made streams are built with curves
and irregularities to create a natural and serene appearance. Lanterns are often placed beside
some of the most prominent water basins (either a pond or a stream) in a garden. In some gardens,
there are some dry ponds or streams which have as much impact as do the ones filled with water.

Japanese gardens
Zen Rock Garden – Japan

Japanese gardens
Japanese Garden – Netherlands

Japanese gardens
Zen Garden – Portland, United States

Green plants are another element of Japanese gardens. Japanese traditions prefer subtle green
tones, but flowering trees and shrubs are also used. Many plants in the Japanese gardens of the
West are indigenous to Japan, though some sacrifices must be made due to different climates.
Some plants, such as sugar maple and firebush, give the garden a broader palette of seasonal

Japanese gardens
Adachi Museum of Art – Yasugi, Japan

Japanese gardens
Suizenji-jojuen Garden – Kumamoto, Japan

Japanese gardens
Keiunkan Garden – Nagahama, Japan

The Japanese rock gardens — karesansui — or “dry landscape” gardens, often called “Zen gardens”,
were mainly influenced by Zen Buddhism and can be found at Zen temples of meditation.
Karesansui gardens are usually extremely abstract and represent (miniature) landscapes also called
mind-scapes”. This Buddhist preferred way to express cosmic beauty in worldly environments
is intertwined with Zen Buddhism.

Japanese gardens
Japanese Rock Garden – Koyasan, Japan

Japanese gardens
Japanese Gardens – Portland, United States

Stone arrangements and other miniature elements are used to represent mountains and
natural water elements and scenes, islands, rivers and waterfalls. Stone and shaped shrubs 

are used interchangeably. In most gardens, moss is used as a ground cover to create “land”
covered by forest.

Other, mostly stone objects, are sometimes used symbolically to represent mountains,
islands, boats, or even people. Karesansui gardens are often, but not always, meant to be
viewed from a single vantage point from a seated position.

There you go.

Japanese gardens
Como Park Conservatory – Minnesota, United States


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