Perfectly designed to reflect the seasons, Japanese gardens are serene, beautiful, otherworldly oases.
Classic Japanese gardens can generally be divided into four types:
- Paradise gardens, which have an island in the middle of a lotus pond, reflect the Pure Land, or Buddhist paradise;
- Karesansui (dry-landscape gardens), which are often known as Zen gardens as they’re usually part of the landscaping of Buddhist Zen temples;
- Kaiyu-shiki (stroll gardens), which are designed for walking;
- and roji (dewy ground), which are simple gardens found in Japanese tea houses.
To celebrate the launch of Be More Japan, our fascinating journey through the sights, sounds, quirks and wisdom of Japan, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Japanese gardens. Whether you’re looking for nature breaks on your upcoming trip, or just need inspiration for your own plot of land, we recommend these six stunning gardens...
This stroll garden in Kanazawa (Ishikawa Prefecture) embodies six virtues of the ideal garden: spaciousness, serenity, venerability, scenic views, subtle design, and coolness. Well, if that doesn’t precisely describe where we’d want to relax for a few hours, we don’t know what would.
Koraku-en is a scenic stroll garden in Okayama (Okayama Prefecture) that was completed in 1700. Featuring a path circumnavigating a central pond, which contains three islands that replicate the scenery around Lake Biwa near Kyoto, Koraku-en is certainly one of Japan's most impressive gardens.
Located in Mito (Ibaraki Prefecture), this garden is famous for its 100 different types of plum trees that explode into blossom in February. Surprisingly, this garden was originally designed as a public park rather than a private garden.
Kokedera ("moss temple"), located in Kyoto Prefecture, is home to about 120 varieties of moss, making it a haven of greenery. This Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage Site is also unique in that visitors are asked to chant and copy Buddhist scripture before enjoying the gardens.
This strolling garden covers almost 25 acres and is located in Tokyo, making it a true refuge within the metropolis. Built around 1700 for the shogun, this garden was then purchased and restored in 1878 by the founder of Mitsubishi, who donated it to the Tokyo city government in 1938.
Home to the most famous rock garden in Japan, this Kyoto temple is a peaceful and popular spot. With 15 rocks resting on various patches of moss, this garden is intriguing in that visitors can never see all of the rocks at one time – one rock will always be hidden from view.
Whether you're dreaming about your first journey, revisiting the trip of a lifetime or simply in love with all things Japan, Be More Japan will transport you to this fascinating country.
Dive into the thrilling and serene world of Shinto monks, street food vendors, anime characters, Okinawan centenarians, technological innovators, J-Pop megastars, ancient philosophers, onsen dwellers and so many more.
There are so many ways to fall in love with Japan. It's home to one of the world's most unique cultures: a perfectly balanced celebration of past traditions; the vibrancy of now and the need to look fearlessly into the future.
From architecture to martial arts; from ramen to robots; kawaii to Kusama; ikigai to ikebana; towering skyscrapers to shrines - Be More Japan uncovers the art and creativity behind modern Japanese living through its kaleidoscope of contrasting places, people and practices.
With beautiful design throughout and with each page alive with facts, history and inspiration, Be More Japan invites you to absorb a little Japanese wisdom into your daily life.
Find out more about Be More Japan here
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