Japanese gardens are as distinct in style as they are beautiful. Historically, stones have been important to Japanese culture, and this is reflected still in contemporary gardens where large stones are sometimes used symbolize mountains. Stone or gravel pathways often form an intrinsic part of the garden too. One of the defining aspects of Japanese gardens is their use of elements such as ponds, streams, islands and hills to recreate natural scenery on a smaller scale.
In celebration of Japan’s impressive horticultural culture, we’ve put together a list of some really inspiring Japanese gardens you’ll want to explore. Let's take a look…
First on our list actually comes to us from Leipzig, Germany, but landscape designers Kirchner Garten and Teich have done a fantastic job of recreating a Japanese style strolling garden.
We remain in Germany with the second entry to the list, and once again the essence of the Japanese garden has been encapsulated perfectly. Water features heavily in this gorgeous garden, fitting as water is often a central element of Japanese gardens, representing lakes or seas.
Number three takes us to Japan for our first genuinely Japanese entry to our list. Here we can see how prominently stones feature; serving as a pathway over the bed of gravel that may perhaps symbolise a stream or river.
This astonishing garden forms the grounds of equally impressive home in Fukuoka, Japan. Once again water features heavily in the design, but this time beautiful bridges of arched stone form pathways across it. These pathways link a stone island that may represent a real island, or perhaps it has been included for religious symbolism.
Although number five is Japanese in spirit only, this dazzling Dutch imitation ticks all the boxes. This garden is particularly interesting, because although it has the hallmarks of traditional Japanese design, it is a modern interpretation; evidenced by the building representing a traditional Japanese structure.
This multi-levelled masterpiece makes use of another great tradition of Japanese gardens: using mosses. Along with the great symbolic boulders, we find a carefully contrasted path of moss with stepping stones laid on top.
The final entry to our list is dominated by the awe-inspiring shapes of the great trees to its rear, but in the forefront we find a lantern; another important element of the traditional Japanese garden.
Lanterns have been a common component of Japanese garden design throughout history, and were often paired with water basins to form tea gardens.
For more intriguing Japanese design, check out these marvellous minimalist living rooms.