Katsura Imperial Villa Kyoto

Japanese gardens that may be found throughout the land of the rising sun were not constructed overnight. They’ve been around for a long time, but they still shine like they did before.

Continue reading this article to learn more!

Japanese Gardens

Japanese Gardens are serene and modest havens of tranquility, offering a peaceful setting for introspection and meditation. Generally, they are made up of evergreens, rocks, stones, sand, ponds, and waterfalls, and avoid the opulence of many Western Garden designs. 

They symbolize a long period of history during which you can have both favorable and negative feelings about them.

Types of Japanese Gardens 

War and other disasters have devastated many of those magnificent gardens over time. Many were constructed throughout the modern Japanese era, and several are now still being developed by outstanding artists.

Traditionally, Japanese Gardens are divided into three styles. Karesansui, Tsukiyama, and Chaniwa are three different types of gardens with diverse meanings based on their appearance.

Karesansui (Rock, Dry, Zen Garden)

The Karesansui Garden is primarily made up of meticulously placed rocks of various shapes and sizes that are enclosed by sand. The sea or rivers are represented by flowing sand and gravel, whereas an island is represented by rocks.

The garden embodies Zen Buddhism’s spiritualism and provides a setting and simplicity conducive to meditation. When military monarchs embraced the newly imported Zen Buddhism that had a great effect on garden design, the dry garden was established in the 14th century.

Tsukiyama (Hill and Pond Garden)

This Japanese-style garden, which portrays a miniature of the natural environment, is made up of ponds, slopes, pebbles, trees, fish, bridges, mosses, pathways, flowers, small plants, and streams.

In fact, you’d want to compare the Japanese and Zen gardens’ beauty, despite the fact that they’re both completely different but have a spiritual significance.

The term “tsukiyama” refers to the construction of man-made hills. This is a traditional Japanese garden that can be admired from the temple balcony or while strolling through the garden walkways.

A hill garden is often larger than a Zen Garden, yet gardening techniques can be used to construct one in a small space.

During the spring and fall seasons, many tourists flock to this traditional-style garden to see many cherry blossoms and beautiful crimson maple leaves.

Chaniwa (Tea Garden)

A tea garden is a form of exquisite Japanese garden that includes a tea ceremony house. There are two components to this garden: the inner garden and the outer garden.

The outer garden follows a path that eventually leads to the inner garden. A covered gate separates the inner and exterior gardens.

It is customary to wash your hands before entering the inner garden. The stone water basin (tsukubai) in the garden can be used to wash your hands. In comparison to Tsukiyama and Karesansui, Zen gardens are often smaller.

When attending a tea ceremony, you will come across this style of Japanese garden.

11 Most Breathtaking Japanese Gardens to Visit

Japanese gardens are very impressive and breathtaking pieces of art. Respect and appreciation for their environment is a basic value of Shintoism, Japan’s original and native religion. For this reason, Japan has some of the most beautiful gardens on the planet.

Their traditional gardens immerse guests to feudal Japan by allowing them to walk on the same paths as historical samurai warriors and philosophers did. There are also modern gardens that take design cues from European landscapes and other global sources.

Here is a list of 11 of the most breathtaking gardens that you should not miss when visiting Japan.

1. Kenroku-en (Ishikawa)

Kenroku-en is situated in Ishikawa Prefecture in Kanazawa and is regarded as one of Japan’s Three Great Gardens. The Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology has designated it as a “Special Places of Scenic Beauty” under the Cultural Protection Act.

It was built by the ancient feudal lords and has accommodated a variety of events. It also has a tea house and a pagoda, which were added to Kenroku-en by each subsequent daimyo (feudal lord). This garden, which is based near Kanazawa Castle, is open all year and requires only a small admission fee.

2. Koraku-en (Okayama)

Koraku-en is also recognized as one of Japan’s Three Great Gardens. Just next to Okayama Castle, it is a landscape garden which is worth visiting. For simple access, there are two entrance gates. 

Built in 1687 to entertain prominent visitors, this park was launched to the public in 1884. There are spacious lawns, a spectacular view, and rice fields here. Within the park, there is also an archery range. The plum, cherry, and maple trees are its most famous features. 

This garden hosts a number of well-known annual festivals and events, including the Goshinko Festival, the Tea Picking Festival, the Yosai Tea Ceremony, the Lotus Flower Viewing Event, the Early Spring Festival, the Rice Planting Festival, and many more. 

3. Kairaku-en (Ibaraki) 

“Garden for everyone’s delight” or “park to be enjoyed together” is how the word Kairakuen is translated. The last of Japan’s Three Great Gardens is Kairaku-en in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture. This 18-acre garden contains over 3,000 plum trees in over 100 different types. From the observation deck on the third floor, you can also observe Lake Senba. The ninth feudal lord of Mito established Kairaku-en as one of Japan’s first public gardens. 

4. Ritsurin Koen (Kagawa)

Ritsurin Koen, popularly known as the Chestnut Grove Garden, is a popular tourist destination in Takamatsu, Kagawa. After more than a century of modifications by various feudal lords, it was completed in 1745. Following that, it first welcomed its visitors in 1875. It also highlights a tea house and traditional art exhibits. In addition to its features, to the west of the garden, the overlooking view of Mt. Shiun can be seen.

5. Imperial Palace East Gardens (Tokyo)

The Imperial Palace East Gardens house the majority of the palace’s administrative buildings, as well as the Tokagakudo Peach Blossom Music Hall. It is also home to the Imperial Collections Museum. The Ninomaru garden has trees symbolizing each of Japan’s prefectures. There are almost 260 trees in this area.

6. Adachi Museum of Art (Shimane)

Yasugi, Shimane Prefecture, is home to the Adachi Museum of Art. It was founded in 1970 as a modern Japanese art museum and park. It has six gardens and about 1,500 exhibits, including paintings, pottery, and other works of art. The undeviating exhibit of artworks by Yokoyama Taikan, the innovator of the Nihonga painting method, is on display as well. The Michelin Green Guide has given this garden the highest rating of three stars.

7. Kokedera (Kyoto)

Kokedera is also called Saihoji or The Moss Temple. This garden features roughly 120 different types of moss and has influenced Japanese garden design significantly. In 1339, it was converted from being Prince Shōtoku’s villa to a Zen temple. At the entryway, visitors are required to repeat Buddhist chants. During the wintertime, the garden is closed for maintenance. 

8. Ryoan-ji Temple (Kyoto)

Ryoan-ji Temple is a Zen temple and the Fujiwara clan’s first residence. The exact date and who built the garden are unknown, but there are numerous theories about its roots. The “Seven Imperial Tombs” are housed here, with the Zen Garden, or rock garden, being its most well-known aspect. On the grounds, there is also a tea house and a water garden. This garden features 15 various sized stones, but only 14 stones are visible from any angle due to their placement. It is stated that enlightenment is necessary in order to witness all 15 at once. 

9. Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)

In 1879, Shinjuku Gyoen was established as an imperial park, and in 1906, it was opened to the public. It was bombed out and rebuilt in 1949 after being damaged by air strikes in 1945. It has three gates and more than 20,000 trees. French formal, English landscape, and Japanese traditional are the three styles represented in this park. The annual cherry blossom picnics and celebrations, known as hanami, are extremely popular here.

10. Sankeien (Kanagawa)

Three Creeks Garden is another name for Sankeien in Yokohama. Tomitaro Hara, a silk trader, designed and developed it in 1906. The structures were all purchased from different parts of Japan. In 1953, the city of Yokohama received it as a gift. It features a three-story pagoda from Kyoto as well as the Kakushokaku, which was once the Hara family’s private property but is now used for events.

11. Katsura Imperial Villa (Kyoto)

The Katsura Imperial Villa is known by its other name, the Detached Palace. This garden, which was built in 1645, showcases architectural style, design, and gardening. Members of the Imperial family used to live there. It combines Shinto design concepts with Zen Buddhism in order to maximize the appreciation of foliage design. Many traditional tea houses may be seen in this park, which continues to serve as a model for modern architects. 

Time to Relax!

The garden’s architecture is often basic, focusing on the natural features rather than intricate and decorative structures. The gardens incorporate worn and natural components, and vivid colors are used to reflect seasonal changes in a direct manner.

Japanese gardens are intended to capture natural beauty through simplicity and to symbolize the peacefulness of Japanese natural settings. Each garden is a haven for serenity and introspection, which many people long to recreate.

Check out our shop for bonsai trees that you’d love to see in your Japanese garden!