Parks & gardens

"Its house abandoned, 
the garden has become home 
 to butterflies."

 Sôgi (1421-1502), Buddhist poet

Mirrors of the Japanese soul

Japanese gardens are not confined to the art of bonsai. These extraordinary gardens extend from the unknown, creating shapes similar to a distant landscape, breaking the order of the tiny and the infinite. The plant, mineral and water elements reproduce the beauty of nature. A rock is respected for its very existence ...

Moss gardens, rock gardens, and landscaped gardens breathe with music of the water and wind. Gardeners are maestros recreating nature, artificially sublime, holding forces of the invisible.

For the geographer Augustin Berque: "The origins of the Japanese garden seem well rooted in the sacredness of the wilderness." Many authors see them in the heaps of sacred stones that tie the human world to nature and the gods.

Designed for philosophical enlightenment, gardens have zen aesthetics and raise awareness of emptiness. Clean lines, fine gravel, formal abstraction in the dry landscape (kare sansui), a zen style garden where visitors can only sit and look, invites contemplation and forgetting of the self. This is ever apparent at the the unparalleled RYOANJI in Kyoto .

In parks and gardens around the archipelago, the spring bloom of cherry blossoms announces that long-awaited symbol of the transience of life. The autumn maple draw in walkers, lovers, friends, and colleagues always on the lookout for joyful revelry, honoring the pleasure of being here and now.

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