The History Behind the Famous Japanese Gardens

The Japanese gardens are worldly renowned, mostly because of its’ delicate beauty. Many travellers come to Japan in search of such Japanese gardens. We want you to come witness the beauty, but also understand the interesting depth behind the famous Japanese gardens.

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japanese garden
Adachi Garden

Unlike Western style gardens, Japanese gardens manifest curves and asymmetric designs in their gardens. They do this to maintain the concept of “nature” in their gardens. When gardening was first introduced to Japan, they too were building square shaped yards and ponds. Gradually, linear gardens became rare. The Japanese used the gardens in a way to show their respect and admiration to nature and religion, and soon the gardens played an important role in Japanese culture.

japanese garden
Sorakuen Garden

Overtime, Japanese gardens evolved.

Asuka Period -Gardens were still incorporating designs from China and Korea.

Nara Period -Asymmetric and curved designs began to be seen in gardens, which became to be the “Japanese” style.

Heian Period -This was an age where aristocratic culture flourished in Japan, and mansions for the aristocrats were built along with the gardens.

Kamakura Period -Mansions for the aristocrats began to be built next to gardens, and the Zen philosophy introduced from China which influenced the Japanese gardens.

Muromachi Period -With the prosperity of the Zen philosophy, the Japanese rock gardens were built. Although rock gardens were made since the Heian Period, it was during the Muromachi Period with the incorporation of Zen, that the rock gardens became established as a “Japanese garden” design.

Azuchi Momoyama Period -During this period, the military commanders led the creation of Japanese gardens, and many castle gardens were built. This was when the concept of tea was becoming adapted in Japan, and tea gardens were also built. The tea gardens were open to the common people as well.

Edo Period -Still with military commanders in charge, many more gardens were created by castles. The layout of a large pond surrounded by a garden was created then and became the culmination point of Japanese gardening.

Meiji Period and beyond -During this time, more “business men” became in charge of the Japanese gardens, often using large spaces of lawns, creating a brighter feel to the gardens. Western ideologies were also intertwined, often resulting in “unnatural” looking gardens.

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Ritsurin garden
japanese garden
Adachi Garden
japanese garden
Adachi Garden

There is much beauty to be found in the Japanese gardens. Along with the breathtaking landscape, the Japanese gardens are known to bring a inner calm. The calm you feel while entering the garden is the power of Zen. Come see the beauty and feel the tranquility of the Japanese gardens, and the deepest of Japanese culture.

If you are interested in actually creating a Japanese garden, join our Traditional Japanese Gardener Experience Tour! Click here to see details.

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