Shishi-Odoshi, or scare-deer is a device to frighten deer away. It is a unique garden element that you can see in residential gardens in Japan now. As you see in the photo below, a bamboo tube is set like a seesaw. when the open cut side has water in, the bamboo tube flips. And then it flips back and knocks a stone.
Originally, Shishi-Odoshi was not for gardens. Farmers use it to keep animals away from agricultural crops. The funny thing is, probably almost all Japanese will associate with Japanese gardens when they hear its knocking sound. In my childhood, I have seen many scenes on TV that traditional-style Japanese gardens always have Shishi-Odoshi.
You can see Shishi-Odoshi at Shisendo, the Buddist temple in Kyoto. Shisendo’s beautiful garden is famous for azaleas. I often visited this garden in my twenties. Shishi-Odoshi’s knocking sound is like a pebble thrown in a silent pond. I sit on an engawa deck, relax, and the knocking sound gets my consciousness back to the world. In a sense, I feel I meditate for my mind.