Appreciating Nature through Gardening

Garden Types Part I: Pleasure

Kyoto Imperial Palace Garden

Japanese gardens can be broadly categorized into three types, each serving a different cultural function – pleasure, contemplation, and tea.  Although the actual physical design may vary widely, each follows a traditional set of requirements that creates a similar ambiance among the gardens. Designed as a backdrop for refined entertainments during the Heian period (794-1185), the courtly pleasure gardens emerged from temple Paradise gardens that represented Buddhist cosmology.

Tenryu-ji Temple, Kyoto

Waka poetry garden of 1702, Rikugien, Tokyo.

Typically featuring  a central pond in a rolling landscape with strolling paths and scenic viewpoints, the pond and hill garden, as it came to be known, continued into modern times as an expression of wealth and taste.  As family fortunes changed, a number of princely gardens became public parks in the 19th and 20th c., including Kenrokuen in Kanazawa.

Overlooking Kasumigaike Pond, Kenrokuen, Kanazawa.

Founded in 1676 outside Kanazawa Castle, the Edo era garden is called one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan.  Kenrokuen is named the “garden of six attributes” because it fulfills the requirements for a perfect landscape based on the standards of a venerated Chinese poet.

Spaciousness…Nijibashi and Kotoitoro (Rainbow bridge and two-leg lantern).

Seclusion…source of winding stream.

Artifice…dramatically supported cloud pine.

Antiquity…Neagarinomatsu, raised roots pine.

Watercourses…stone-edged stream.

And Panoramas…elevated view over Kasumigaike Pond.


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