Japanese rock garden - uncovering the basics of oriental style

In garden art, style means a combination of traditions, canons, receptions and principles that ensure the unity of the figurative system of the garden, its generalized ideological and artistic content. The stylistics of the garden in Japan was formed under the influence of the surrounding nature. A peculiar flora, islands framed by great waters, short full-flowing rivers, lakes of various origins, beautiful mountains. The geographic features of the country make it possible to turn even a few meters of the area into a full-fledged garden - a Japanese rock garden combining naturalness, minimalism and symbolism.

Rock Garden - Japan's calling card

The remarkable quality of Japanese culture lies in the fact that everything new does not destroy and does not suppress existing traditions, but is processed, successfully complementing what has been created over the centuries. Buddhism, which was introduced here from outside, was changed by the Japanese own worldview. So the Japanese philosophical and religious doctrine of Zen Buddhism was formed. Under his influence, special gardens began to be created: monastery and temple.

A kind of microcosm in which sand, pebbles, stones and mosses created the prototype of the universe

Zen culture spawned a garden that could do without plants at all or have them in a minimal amount. A kind of microcosm, in which sand, pebbles, stones and mosses created the prototype of the Universe, was intended for meditation, deep immersion in thought, contemplation and self-knowledge. The rock garden, mysterious and incomprehensible to Westerners, has become for Japan the same hallmark as sakura and chrysanthemum. In the landscape gardening culture of other countries, he has no analogues.

The history of Japan has retained the name of a Zen Buddhist master who created the first rock garden in Japan. The garden in the Kyoto Buddhist temple Ryoanji was built by the master Soami (1480-1525). At a site of 10x30 meters there are 15 stones located in five groups. Tradition prescribes to look at stones from a certain place. If you follow it, the mysterious and inexplicable harmony of the garden will have a hypnotic effect on you.

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Key points in the style of the rock garden

The Japanese style will appeal to those who are ready to abandon the lush splendor of European gardens. Reflective lovers of secluded relaxation will appreciate all the charms of a minimalist temple garden. Those who want to build a Japanese stone garden with their own hands should take into account the key points of its formation initially:

  • Emptiness is the first impression that develops at the sight of this garden. Its area should not be as full as possible, as is customary in European gardens. A contrasting perception of open and occupied space is needed.
  • It is necessary to determine the point of contemplation, in relation to which the garden will be oriented. Given the blinding effect of the midday sun, the north side is preferred for the viewpoint. Depending on the time of day (morning or evening hours) to be spent in the garden, the object of concentration of the eye is placed in the eastern or western part of the site.
  • Asymmetry is the basic principle of all Japanese gardens. No need to select stones of similar size, place them parallel to each other. A traditional rock garden is built with a heptagonal geometric network of lines. The size of the heptagon is not so important. The location of objects should be such that each of them is visible from all points of view.
  • If there are open water bodies on the site, the reflection of the garden elements in the water should be taken into account. Even the outline of the shadows of objects is considered important.

The area of ​​the rock garden should not be as full as possible

The shape of shadows and reflection in water - everything is important in the rock garden

Japanese culture in Russia is given a lot of attention. Our fellow citizens are interested in the features of traditions, ceremonies, philosophy, culture and, of course, the cuisine of this country. The Kaizen continuous self-improvement system, for example, has been successfully used at the Chelyabinsk Pipe-Rolling Plant. There is also a private rock garden.

Left: a heptagonal geometric network of lines - the basis for building a rock garden; Right: rock garden of the Chelyabinsk pipe rolling plant

Today it is often said that the geometric components of the mysterious rock garden of the Ryoanji temple are open, and its harmony is translated into simple formulas. Yes, it seems so ... Or rather, it seems to Europeans. The rock garden, like the hieroglyphs, will forever remain mysterious and incomprehensible to us, even if we learn to imitate their shape. Those who want to embody a rock garden on their site should understand that this will be only a copy, recreating the external form of the original. Although among the copies there are masterpieces.


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