Japanese Garden Features

Looking to give your garden a Japanese theme? Read our guide to including the most important features any Japanese garden should include…

Every part of the world has evolved different gardening styles depending upon the culture and the traditions of the people inhabiting the land. Japanese garden features are unique in their design and styling, which tell us a lot about the Japanese people and their culture.

Japanese Minimalist Gardens

The Japanese have always been minimalists in their approach to architecture and landscaping. This is not surprising, because Japan is a small country and space is at a premium. So every inch of land in Japan has to be carefully utilized. Hence, Japanese garden designs and Japanese garden features tend to be frugal, clean, tidy and harmonized with nature. This is the main feature of any Japanese garden as well.

Religion and Japanese Gardens

Religion is a main theme in Japanese garden features. Japan’s main religions, Shintoism and Buddhism, or a mix of the two, emphasize the oneness of man with nature. The natural forces of nature are regarded as animist spirits, which have to be worshipped and kept in good humor to maintain the balance of life. This balance is seen in the overall landscaping of a Japanese garden.

Water and Bridges in Japanese Garden

A typical Japanese garden will always have water, either as a pond with goldfish in it or as a small waterfall. In case the space is limited, a mirror will be used to simulate water. There will always be a wooden bridge or a stone path way as one of the elements that is supposed to depict the ‘path of life’.

Japanese Rock Garden

Rocks arranged in a geometric pattern or some shape are an integral part of a Japanese garden. A Japanese rock garden is a particularly unique feature in the global garden styles for its sheer simplicity and beauty.

Use of Light in Japanese Gardens

Light is an important feature. Hence, all Japanese gardens will have Japanese lanterns placed at specific locations to give a varying contrast of light and dark areas at night and a prominent locations by day, both of which signify knowledge. These lanterns maybe made out of wood and paper or even stone.

Japanese Tea Ceremony in the Garden

The Japanese take their tea ceremony very seriously. It is an elaborate ritual that is performed in all seriousness and is supposed to denote your higher lineage. A tea ceremony, well performed, induces Zen like serenity. For this purpose, the Japanese erect a typical pagoda-style tea house or pavilion, which invariably, is part of a Japanese garden.

Japanese Characters in the Garden

In any Japanese garden, you will always find a depiction of Japanese characters at one end with a lot of plants around it. Words depicted as such are supposed to have mystical powers and effects and, hence, are included in a Japanese garden.

Japanese Strolling Gardens

Japanese strolling gardens require the visitor to walk through the garden where various vantage points are made. When a visitor stops at the vantage point and looks at the arrangement of plants, water, stones, pebbles, and mirrors, it is supposed to evoke a particular emotion. Each vantage point gives a different interpretation to the garden and evokes different emotions that are supposed to bring about spiritual awakening and induce calmness.

These are the Japanese garden features you’re likely to see in a typical Japanese garden.

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