When we think gardens we think of flowerbeds, maybe a tree or two. Or we envision a garden full of vegetables. The Japanese have a much richer understanding of gardens. For the Japanese gardens are a place for reflection and growth. A place they once entertained royalty and the elite of society. The design of a Japanese garden may have a flowerbed but, they completely leaves out any vegetable patch.
The concept of a Japanese garden started back before 794. Back before the influences of China had reached Japan. The first Japanese garden consisted of a single building in the middle of nature surrounded by pebbles. I’m not talking a few pebbles like we see on gravel roads. These pebbles were all white and of average size. These locations were considered to be sacred. Some aspects of this type of garden can be seen in ancient Shinto shrines.
Between 1603 and 1867, known as the Edo period, saw the creation of strolling gardens. Gardens with ponds and small islands; and man-made hills were created for the enjoyment of the ruling class. Many of these gardens also included a small tea garden in them. There were also much smaller gardens created called Tsuboniwa. The Tsuboniwa garden is probably the one Japanese garden you have seen the most and not realized it. Ever watch one of those shows that showed a Japanese style home with a tree and small patch of grass on the inside of the house? Well that small patch of earth is a Tsuboniwa garden.
The Meiji period 1868 to modern times showed a period of westernization and the modernizing of Japan. Along with this came new concepts of gardens. Parks were built for the public to enjoy. Many of the concepts of a Japanese garden were included in the design of these parks. Zen garden ideas were included in the designs of the modern parks. You can see images and read more about the history of Japanese gardens if you follow the link below. If you liked this post, be sure to give this blog a follow to keep up with my other posts.