Japanese Gardens

The Japanese garden is not simply nature, not simply “self-created”, as the literal translation of the Japanese word for nature-shizen – would have us believe. The Japanese garden is and has always been nature crafted by man. It belongs to realm of architecture and is, at its best, nature as art.

The Japanese garden displays this same figurative symbiosis of the right angle and natural form in ever new variations throughout the five major epochs of its history. In his seminal essay on Japanese design, Walter Dodd Ramberg expresses his view that beauty is perceived and venerated in Japan either as a property of natural accident or as the perfection of man-made type. In Shintoism, the oldest native Japanese religion, the unique or extraordinary in nature is often venerated as go-shintai, the abode of a deity Go-shintai may be an unusually-shaped rock, a tree weathered over the centuries, a strikingly jagged mountain da water-fall of rare shape or size. In later periods of Japanese history artists made deliberate use of the beauty of natural chance, as revealed in the sophisticated flaws of their pottery glazing and the splashes in their calligraphy.