Japanese Gardens: a cultural tradition >>Find Japanese GardensGardens in Japan were historically developed and used as places to teach Buddhism and "Chanoyu," or "rituals for serving and drinking Japanese tea." Japanese gardens developed and changed in line with Japanese culture and history. Shrines and temples are often contained within these gardens, lending them a strong religious aspect, a striking difference from traditional European gardens, which were largely developed for recreation and hunting.
You can find Japanese gardens near shrines, feudal castles, or in wealthy peoples' homes, and more recently in public spaces and even hotels. Through visiting a Japanese garden, you can come to an understanding of the Japanese way of conceptualizing nature, which is often referred to as "Wabi Sabi." In addition, Japanese gardens are relaxing and enjoying to stroll through any time of the year, as their characteristics change with the seasons.
A typical Japanese garden has a pond in the center, surrounded by artificial hills, which are usually created using the original ground relief. The important thing here is that all the natural elements of the garden are combined in order that the four seasons can be appreciated. Japanese gardens also communicate meaning through the way they are arranged: water falling down from a hill demonstrates how small becomes large, and the positioning of certain stones into small mountains or islands can have religious significance. Japanese gardens typically have a tea room (ochaya), in which you can sip Japanese traditional tea, enjoy the garden, and relax. Here are two particular garden styles:
Karesensui (dry garden)Karesensui expresses the landscape scenery using sand, gravel, rocks, and occasionally grass or other natural elements, without using any water. Amazingly, even without water, skilled gardeners can evoke water characteristics by using methods like top-dressing sand and gravel, or arranging stone faces that imitate water flow.
Shakkei (borrowed scenery)Shakkei utilizes the scenery behind or outside the garden for background. By using a river, the ocean, fields, forests, large trees, or even a building, the foreground and background of a garden are incorporated to create a dynamic landscape. Unfortunately, recent high-rise development can work negatively with this style, but occasionally provides an interesting contrast between the new and old.
Seeing is believingWhy don't you go to Japanese gardens and experience the traditional Japanese way of thinking about nature? The quiet environment and cool air offers a brief but restful escape from urban life.
"Three Famous Japanese Gardens" >>Find Japanese GardensBelow are the most famous Japanese gardens, called "The Three Famous Gardens". All of which were established before 1600 and feature vast gardens. Although they are far from Tokyo, all are worth a visit and are a good use of your time in Japan.
Adachi Museum -The Journal of Japanese Gardening- The Journal of Japanese Gardening, the English magazine dedicated to the special world of Japanese gardens and Japanese architecture, annually announces its "Ranking of Japanese Gardens." Adachi Museum has ranked No.1 four years in a row. Needless to say, this Japanese garden is quite interesting. The design of the garden is innovative. For instance, the garden can be viewed through a large window in a building; thus the window functions as a frame for the garden. This Japanese garden is also far from Tokyo, but worth visiting.
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