Friday, October 16, 2009

Japan Land Of The Rising Sun

Garden design has been an important Japanese art for many centuries. Traditional Japanese landscape gardens can be broadly categorized into three types, Tsukiyama Gardens (hill gardens), Karesansui Gardens (dry gardens) and Chaniwa Gardens (tea gardens).

Tsukiyama (Suizenji Koen, Kumamoto)
Karesansui (Nanzenji, Kyoto)

Tsukiyama Gardens

Ponds, streams, hills, stones, trees, flowers, bridges and paths are used to create a miniature reproduction of a natural scenery which is often a famous landscape in China or Japan. The name Tsukiyama refers to the creation of artificial hills.

Tsukiyama gardens vary in size and in the way they are viewed. Smaller gardens are usually enjoyed from a single viewpoint, such as the veranda of a temple, while many larger gardens are best experienced by following a circular scrolling path.

Karesansui Gardens

Karesansui gardens reproduce natural landscapes in a more abstract way by using stones, gravel, sand and sometimes a few patches of moss for representing mountains, islands, boats, seas and rivers. Karesansui gardens are strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism and used for meditation.

Chaniwa Gardens
Chaniwa gardens are built for the tea ceremony. They contain a tea house where the actual ceremony is held and are designed in aesthetic simplicity according to the concepts of sado (tea ceremony).
Chaniwa gardens typically feature stepping stones that lead towards the tea house, stone lanterns and a stone basin (tsukubai), where guests purify themselves before participating in the ceremony.


List of Famous Gardens
Fujita Memorial Garden Spacious Japanese landscape garden.

Motsuji Temple Temple famous for its Pure Land Garden.

Rinnoji Temple Date family temple with outstanding garden.

Kairakuen Garden Spacious garden famous for plum trees.

Koishikawa Korakuen Landscape garden next to Tokyo Dome.
Rikugien Beautiful Japanese style landscape garden.
Hama Rikyu Landscape garden next to Shiodome.
Imperial East Gardens Park on the former grounds of Edo Castle.
Kyu Shiba Rikyu Japanese landscape garden.
Kiyosumi Garden Japanese landscape garden.

Sankeien Garden Traditional Japanese landscape garden.

Kenrokuen Japan's most celebrated landscape garden.

Urakuen Garden Garden with a celebrated teahouse.

Kokedera Called moss temple because of its garden.
Shugakuin Villa Imperial villa at the outskirts of Kyoto.
Katsura Villa Imperial villa with stunning landscape garden.
Nijo Castle Former Kyoto residence of the shogun.
Byodoin Temple Temple with a beautiful Pure Land Garden.
Ryoanji Temple Zen Temple with famous rock garden.
Kyoto Imperial Palace The Imperial Family's residence until 1868.
Tenryuji Temple Zen Temple in the Arashiyama district.
Daigoji Temple Famous temple southeast of Kyoto.
Daitokuji Temple Large Zen temple complex.
Nanzenji Temple Zen temple with beautiful stone garden.
Sento Palace Imperial palace with beautiful gardens.

Sorakuen Garden Japanese landscape garden in central Kobe.

Kokoen Garden Japanese style garden next to the castle.

Korakuen Garden Outstanding Japanese style landscape garden.

Adachi Museum of Art Art museum with a spectacular garden.

Shukkeien Garden Japanese landscape garden.

Ritsurin Koen Outstanding Japanese style landscape garden.

Suizenji Garden Landscape garden reproducing the Tokaido.

Senganen Garden Japanese style landscape garden.

Shikinaen Garden Second residence of the former Ryukyu kings.


  1. Hi,

    Is it possible for me to get permission to attempt to paint one of your photographs?


    Rhonda Kraak

  2. Hello,

    I absolutely love your pictures of the Japanese gardens.

    I would be extremely grateful if you could post the name of the garden in picture 1 (japana.jpg), and picture 7 (japan7.jpg).

    I have been to Japan several times, and have seen some beautiful gardens, but these gardens are something special.

    Many thanks,


  3. Please delete the 7th image on this post. It is my image, is copyrighted and illegal for you to use. Thank you.