Features of Japanese Gardens

By Staff Writer
September 22, 2023
Japanese gardens are meticulously designed based on aesthetic principles to create a masterpiece of natural art that evokes feelings of tranquility, renewal and exploration. While the materials employed in these gardens might not be particularly rare, it is the way in which they are brought together that grant Japanese gardens their exceptional character.

Over the course of more than a millennium, the style and purpose of Japanese gardens have continuously evolved, ranging from the strolling gardens for the recreation of feudal lords during the Edo period to the dry-stone gardens that Zen monks used for meditative and spiritual purposes.

Three of the vital elements that form the essence of a Japanese garden are water, rocks, and plants.

Water is the major element that defines a Japanese garden. It embodies different meanings depending on its state. Still water signifies a reflection of life, while flowing water represents its continuity.
Water in a Japanese garden
Rocks generally represent stability, although pebbles or gravel can symbolize water. Vertical rocks, including volcanic ones, symbolize mountains, while flat rocks denote islands or the earth itself. Smooth rocks often serve as stepping stones or pathways.
Rocks in a Japanese garden
The Japanese garden stands as a tribute to nature, wherein plants are used to embellish the space and hide the outside world. Plants are chosen based on their blossoming seasons and the transformation of their foliage across different times of the year. Some of the traditional plants used include cherry trees, lotus, ferns, Japanese black pine and bamboo.
Plants in a Japanese garden
Today, Japanese gardens are renowned the world over for their elegance, intricacy, and depth of meaning. The construction of gardens became an important cultural art form in and of itself and is a great source of national pride of Japanese people and a great source of enjoyment for all who visit Japan.
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