Japanese garden theme is based on a beautiful blend of tradition, religion and culture. They take you on the journey of mind, body and spirit. Simplicity, naturalness and warmth is featured in Japanese garden design.
Japanese gardens are created mostly for meditation purpose and to come closer to nature and relax for a while. So, while making Japanese style garden, the garden area should have a boundary wall made of bamboo or it should be fenced. They should look like miniature landscape where natural and manmade elements are balanced beautifully.
Different element like sand, rocks, natural plants and ornaments like water basins, lantern etc. are used to create Japanese style garden. They reflect three basic principles of symbolization, reduced scale and borrowed view, based on the philosophy of Buddhism and Shinto belief practiced by Japanese. Symbolization is created by using sand and gravel to symbolize river, whereas rocks and stones are used to symbolize mountain.
Ponds containing lotus flower symbolizes enlightenment. The roots of lotus flower embedded in mud symbolize passion and flowers opening to the sun symbolize purity. There are mainly three traditional type of Japanese garden design, namely Tsukiyama (hill garden), Karesansui (dry gardens) and Chaniwa (tea gardens).
Three Traditional Type of Japanese Garden Design
Karesansui – Dry Gardens
Karesansui are waterless or dry gardens and a very well-known type of Japanese garden design. This type of garden are also known as rock garden and associated with Zen Buddhism. These kinds of gardens are often seen at the Zen abbot’s residences. The main elements of these dry gardens are rocks and sand. Sands and gravel raked in patterns symbolizes streaming water and represents a rippling effect. Limited plants, mostly moss, are used in these gardens and sometimes plants are non-existent. A well-known example of Karesensui is Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto.
Tsukiyama – Strolling Gardens
Tsukiyama are hill gardens which usually feature an artificial hill and also includes streams, ponds, and various types of shrubs, trees and plants. These are large landscape gardens that can be viewed from temple buildings or houses or can be appreciated while strolling through the garden paths.
This kind of garden is also created on an imaginary landscape on a smaller scale. Tsukiyama garden became popular in early Edo period.The popular example of this garden can be seen in Tenryuji Temple and Saihoji Temple.
Chaniwa – Tea Gardens
Chaniwa garden came into existence in the 14th century in Japan with the introduction of tea ceremony. From its name, it appears that people drink tea in this garden. But actually they are not full-fledged gardens; rather they are small enclosed or narrow paths leading to the main tea room (chashitsu). They are basically passage to the tea house where tea ceremony is performed. The main elements of this type of gardens are Japanese lantern called Toro, stepping stones (tobi ishi), crouching water basin and a waiting place (machi-ai). They are mostly part of a big garden.
For creating Japanese style garden, create stream or other sources of water in your garden and put stone lanterns decorated with Sanskrit letters or some Buddhist images. You can use creative style lanterns specially designed in different sizes and shapes for this type of garden. Water is the main feature and essential element of Japanese garden. Create an empty or fresh water pond or stream. Choose ornamental plants according to season to get the desired effect. Adding a tea house will bring your garden more close to Japanese culture.