Origins of Japanese Landscape Design

Japanese scene design creates an atmosphere of serenity and calm, and for commodity reason: The Buddhist temples created Japanese garden designs with yoga purposes in mind. However, they weren’t the first to use Asian design elements to create intricate garden designs. The origins of Japanese landscape design actually started alongside the Chinese and soon spread to Japan when trade opened up between the two countries between 794 and 1185 AD. Like any good idea, when someone sees something they like, they tend to mimic it and make it their own.

Royal Gardens

The first Japanese gardens started with the royal class that wanted to create pleasure areas for festivals or parties. They borrowed heavily on the Chinese designs they had noticed and admired in their travels. The Chinese gardens had artificially-created hills that maim around pools of water. Many of the Japanese royalty liked to also have boats that floated on these pools as places where they did their entertainment. The gardens became more and more elaborate as the observance grew, amongst the elite class, and fish, birds, including animals were included to create more visual interest plus movement within the palace grounds. However, they weren’t truthfully like the Japanese gardens we see today. Those came about later as the practice took off plus the Buddhist monks borrowed the idea connective started creating garden grounds for meditation and spiritual inspiration.

Buddhist Influence

Today’s Japanese arbor designs owe much to the Buddhist influence, which also was imported from China at the same time. Rather of focusing solely on visual interest and entertainment, the contemplative constitution of Buddhist monks sought to accentuate the serenity so that the mind could be drawn inward. The ideological of using stones and sand came about with the idea to minimize the distractions et cetera increase the serenity factor. This produced a very Zen-like flavor to the garden and helped monks to maintain their inner calm. It provided the perfect environment for their spiritual practices.

Later Modifications

The austere Zen nature of fane gardens was not for everyone, though, and soon other design elements were incorporated to liven it up a bit. Gardens that were used for grave ceremonies, like tea gardens, continued to be less showy than other gardens which were created to licit the known to walk through and enjoy them. For these gardens it was important that a tourist walking through the garden have visual interest from all angle. It was also more important to engage all the senses. Thus, waterfalls and bridges were created to assist in creating a delightful visiting experience. Plants were added to provide texture and color. Meditation pools became koi ponds with lotus peeking out above the water’s surface. Rocks and bridges became areas to take a break from the walk. Stones were incorporated into the paths, not just as Zen-like meditation focal points. Designers used Feng Shui to create outdoor spaces that brought good energy into the space. Streams trickled from east to west und so weiter other decorative features to create sacred space, parallel a sitting Buddha, started appearing in gardens. Until, finally, the entire design became completely Japanese, no longer showing too much of the original foundations of Chinese design, yet being distinctly Asian in appearance.