Daimyo garden

Koraku-en is one of the most famous Japanese gardens, located in Okayama, Japan. A garden like this is called a daimyo (feudal lord) garden. In my understanding, the name “daimyo garden” does not refer to a style but a general term for the gardens that feudal lords in the Edo period (1603 – 1867) made […]

Harmony between a garden and a house

庭屋一如 (tei-oku-ichi-nyo) – This is the word expressing a harmonious condition of a garden and a house. I think that many Japanese garden designers consider it a fundamental principle. Traditionally, houses in Japan were designed to achieve comfort in hot summer. This kind of house is a post and beam structure. So, its’ facades can […]

Imperfection in Japanese gardens

“The flow of the river never ceases, and the water never stays the same…” This is the opening phrase of Hojoki, a famous Japanese essay by Kamono Chomei in the 13 century. Almost all Japanese children learn this in their schools. I think that transience is something that many Japanese hold in their minds, which […]

Gardens for Peace

Gardens for Peace

Many may feel anxious now due to the war in Ukraine. I certainly do. I want to introduce a project that may ease your mind. It is “Garden for Peace” by North American Japanese Garden Association. “In September 2020, a peace pattern was raked into the karesansui (dry gardens) of five Japanese gardens in the […]

Shishi-Odoshi as a garden element

Shishi-Odoshi in Japanese garden

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 […]