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Japanese Gardens, Rock Gardens, Dry Landscapes

Updated on August 27, 2013

What Is A Japanese Garden?

I love Japanese Gardens and have visited many in the United States and in Japan. I created this page as a resource for those who, like me, love Japanese gardens, are thinking about creating a garden or simply want to know more about them. I have included links to websites with information about popular Japanese Gardens, websites with photos of Japanese Gardens, instructions and materials for creating your own gardens and links to additional information.

Japanese gardens are places of tranquil beauty where man and nature are allowed to be as one, a place that creates an easy translation between outside and inside. The aesthetic qualities are evident even to the most casual observer, but the gardens provide reflective qualities as well.

Photo by sheilaellen (Flickr)

Create Your Own Japanese Garden

Create Your Own Japanese Garden: A Practical Guide
Create Your Own Japanese Garden: A Practical Guide

This is a step-by-step, practical approach to creating Japanese gardens.


"The traditional Japanese Garden combines characteristics which have been developed over many centuries and which reflect the differing influences prevailing during particular periods of history. Some persons who have visited many such gardens deny the existence of a "typical traditional Japanese garden" claiming that the gardens they have seen differ greatly one from another. However, this is comparable to stating that an 'average Japanese' does not exist because each Japanese is so different. Just as most Japanese share characteristics which can be identified, so it is possible in most cases to identify a traditional Japanese garden by analyzing its general appearance and savoring its atmosphere." -Dr. Koichi Kawana

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Elements of the Japanese Garden - Waterfalls - Flickr photo by g_kat26

Japanese Gardens Cowra 2008

Have You Ever Visited A Japanese Garden?

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Japanese Gardens in a Weekend

Japanese Gardens in a Weekend®: Projects for One, Two or Three Weekends
Japanese Gardens in a Weekend®: Projects for One, Two or Three Weekends

This book presents projects in an easy to understand format.


Elements of the Japanese Garden - Bridges - Flickr photo by DieselDemon

Huntington Library

Books For Your Library about Japanese Gardens

List your favorite Books about Japanese Gardens.

# Readers vote your links up and down by clicking the arrows.

Create Your Own Japanese Garden: A Practical Guide
Create Your Own Japanese Garden: A Practical Guide

In this book, renowned garden designer Motomi Oguchi offers the reader a step-by-step, practical approach to creating Japanese gardens, drawn from a wealth of experience that covers thirty years and encompasses the design of more than 400 gardens. The author uses real examples from gardens hehas designed, constructed, and photographed to illustrate his key points, approaching each work from the perspective of the home or building owner.Oguchi begins with front gardens, as these are usually what...

A Japanese Touch for Your Garden
A Japanese Touch for Your Garden

Here is a concise introduction to the practical aspects of making a Japanese garden. Whether your garden is a spacious suburban lot, an office countyard, or a tiny inner-city backyard, you will find here hundreds of creative but time-honored ways to make maximum use of the space you have. You will learn how to lay stones and pathways and how to create intriguing sand patterns like the ones in Zen temple gardens. You will learn about Japanese lanterns, miniature pagodas, water basins, gates, and...

Serene Gardens: Creating Japanese Design and Detail in the Western Garden
Serene Gardens: Creating Japanese Design and Detail in the Western Garden

With their superbly shaped trees and shrubs, subtly colored foliage, and emphasis on nature in its pure state, Japanese Zen gardens are spaces of beauty and tranquility. Serene Gardens is an exquisitely illustrated introduction to the style and its traditions—and the only book that explains how to use western plants and materials to achieve the minimalist look beloved by Japanese garden designers. Gardeners will find plant lists; climate zone maps; instructions for selecting readily availab...

The Art of the Japanese Garden
The Art of the Japanese Garden

Winner of the 2006 American Horitcultural Society Book Award! Gardening has reached new heights of sophistication, and this book profiles a number of the most notable gardens in Japan and beyond. The goal of a Japanese garden is to suggest a landscape, to depict famous natural scenes, or to evoke a particular artistic quality or atmosphere. Graveled courtyards, early aristocratic gardens, Zen gardens, and several other elements all play key roles in these extravagant landscapes.The Art of the J...

Creating Your Own Japanese Garden
Creating Your Own Japanese Garden

The strong horizontals of bamboo reflected in a dark circle of water; the rhythmic clap of the deer scarer; the contemplative beauty of waves created in sand: combinations of nature and art that soothe and uplift the spirit. Your vision of a Japanese garden need not be confined to Japan. Hereis a fully comprehensive guiide which will enable you to capture in your home or office environment the elusive spirit of the Japanese garden-no matter where you live. The author, a Japanese landscape architect who has been living and designing Japanese gardens in the West for many years, will show you step by-step how to accomplish this ideal utilizing your own special environment and using materials which are readily available in the West. Since moving to the UKin 1974, the author has designed and created many Japanese gardens, from small private gardens to large public spaces of over two acres. It is from this direct experience that he draws the material for this book. The step-by-step instructions are easy-to-follow, and also included are many drawingsand photographs to illustrate the points that are made. "Many books on Japanese gardens can be found in bookstores and libraries, but most do not take into account the different environments found outside Japan nor the diverse materials available worldwide. They tend either to be translations of books written by Japanese landscape architects andgardeners living and working in Japan, or books written by those who visit Japan to research the gardens, with the intention of introducing them to the rest of the world... These books are ideal for learning about the history and appearance of Japanese gardens, but lack the practical advicenecessary for constructing your own garden.. .I believe that as the interest in and understanding of Japanese culture continues to spread, so will the popularity of and desire for Japanese gardens. I hope that this book will give pleasure to all those of you who, like me, are captivated by thegardens of Japan, and that it will help you to create a garden of your own that you can enjoy day after day."


Japanese Garden From You Tube

Japanese Garden Oriental Wind Chime

Oriental Furniture Garden Bells
Oriental Furniture Garden Bells

Harmonically tuned garden bell chimes, , create a gentle beautiful ringing in the breeze.


Elements of the Japanese Garden - Lanterns, Shrubs & Rocks - Flickr photo by Tim Lee Photographic Art

Elements of the Japanese Garden - Paths - Flickr phot by Tim Lee Photographic Art

What Is Your Favorite Feature Of A Japanese Garden?

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Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens

Secret Teachings in the Art of Japanese Gardens explains the fundamental principles of this tradition and describes how those principles may be applied.

Hill Gardens, Dry Gardens, and Tea Gardens

Garden design has been an important Japanese art for many centuries. Traditional Japanese landscape gardens can be broadly categorized into three types, Tsukiyama Gardens (hill gardens), Karesansui Gardens (dry gardens) and Chaniwa Gardens (tea gardens).

Creating Your Own Japanese Garden

Landscapes for Small Spaces: Japanese Courtyard Gardens

This book is an invaluable reference for all garden creators, from amateur to professional.

Rosalind's Japanese Garden, "The Joy of Gardening"

Rosalind's Japanese Garden, "The Joy of Gardening"
Rosalind's Japanese Garden, "The Joy of Gardening"

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What Is Your Experience With Japanese Gardens? - I want to hear from you

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    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 4 years ago from Midwest

      @john-doornkamp: Thank you John. I agree about the elements.

    • john-doornkamp profile image

      john-doornkamp 4 years ago

      Superb subject for a lens, very well handled. Full of fun, information, lovely photographs. An inspiration. Hard to vote on one element of a Japanese garden because in reality the senses result from the combination of all of the garden elements brought together as one.

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 4 years ago from Midwest

      @LauraHofman: Thank you, FlowerChick!

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      What a beautiful lens! I love Japanese gardens peaceful and relaxing.

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 4 years ago from Midwest

      @Pat Goltz: Glad you found a Japanese Garden. Good to know there is one in Phoenix!

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      Japanese gardens are the most beautiful gardens in the world, in my opinion. I looked for a long time to find one in Arizona, and finally found one in Phoenix. Someday, I hope to have a small Japanese garden in my yard, but it won't be anytime soon, unfortunately.

    • MayaIxchel profile image

      MayaIxchel 5 years ago

      I have visited several Japanese Gardens, but my favorite is in Buenos Aires! Greetings from 'the land of eternal spring'!

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

      I love the Japanese Garden in my hometown so much. It is stunningly beautiful. I wish I could go there everyday and just admire the scenery. This is a great lens. I added you to my featured lens list on my japanese tea garden lens. Thanks for sharing this

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I love Japanese gardens, but haven't been in a lot of them. In my youth I saw the one in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park (in the 1950's) and at Huntington Library. Both were beautiful.

    • JenniferAkers LM profile image

      JenniferAkers LM 6 years ago

      I've always loved Japanese gardens and wished I could build one for our yard. Beautiful photos and ideas for creating Japanese gardens.

    • WayneDave LM profile image

      WayneDave LM 6 years ago

      This is an interesting lens. A couple of years ago I helped my friend create a Japanese garden and it looked really good. Thanks for sharing this.

    • profile image

      jseven lm 6 years ago

      How beautiful, love your lens and all the info and pics!

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 6 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Interesting lens...chuck full of information. Thanks for sharing....Cercis

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      I love botanical gardens of all kinds but the Japanese gardens are extra special. Thank you for sharing this tranquil space! :)

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Beautiful photos. I have never been in a Japanese garden, but would love to.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I enjoyed seeing these beautiful Japanese Gardens Pictures and reading about them. Thank you.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Such pretty pictures. Thanks for sharing them here.

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 6 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      I was born in Japan, and went back to visit so I saw lots of them there. And I have been to Huntington Gardens several times which has stunning Japanese Gardens. Also, have visited the Japanese Sunken Gardens in San Antonio, Tx many times!

    • profile image

      ratso 6 years ago

      Excellent lens, I love the photos of the many beautiful gardens.

    • EMangl profile image

      EMangl 6 years ago

      fine places to relax and slow down a bit

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Japanese gardening is a great passion of ours. Thank you for creating this wonderful lens.

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 6 years ago

      I was glad to see Fort Worth's garden on your list - it's a good one. San Antonio has an interesting variation on a Japanese/Chinese

      garden, set deep in an old stone quarry. And Fredricksberg has a beautiful garden room, a gift from Japan to the Nimitz WWII museum. Nice Lens!

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 6 years ago from Sweden

      Such lovely places. Wish I could live in one

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 6 years ago from Midwest

      @carredsal: Carredsak, I hope you see a Japanese Garden sometime soon.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I really enjoyed your lens. I spent part of my honeymoon in Sydney and we accidently came across a gloriously serene Japanese garden. It was a long time ago now, but I treasure the beautiful photos.

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 6 years ago from Midwest

      @anonymous: Grace, thanks for sharing your memory!

    • profile image

      carredsal 6 years ago

      This is a lovely lens....:) I hope to someday see a real Japanese garden....

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 7 years ago from Midwest

      @SciTechEditorDave: Thanks, Dave

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 7 years ago from Midwest

      @teamlane: Thank you for blessing my lens!

    • patinkc profile image

      patinkc 7 years ago from Midwest

      @steveffeo lm: We could have a contest for the best "vegetable" Japanese Garden! Let me know if you make a lens. Isn't that Golden Temple beautiful!!

    • steveffeo lm profile image

      steveffeo lm 7 years ago

      Back what seems like 3 lifetimes ago I went to Japan and got to visit the Golden temple in Kyoto I remember going to the top of a mountain and visiting some other temples. Now I ficus on vegetable gardens but there is a nice calm Japanese garden in my future. Great lens

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 8 years ago

      A lovely lens

    • AppalachianCoun profile image

      AppalachianCoun 8 years ago

      This is an awesome lens. Thank-you for putting together such a nice one.

    • Sarunas profile image

      Sarunas 8 years ago

      WoW. Amazing lens : )

      Well Done. 5* from me.

      Keep it up :)

    • teamlane profile image

      teamlane 8 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel today!

      ~ Colleen :)

    • profile image

      TrixiJahn 9 years ago

      What a neat lens! I've never been to one...but I sure would like to see one. Love your pictures!

      Great lens!


    • profile image

      Joan4 9 years ago

      Beautiful and perfect for granddaughter's new lapbook on Japan! Thank you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Hi, Pat.

      I just love Japanese gardens. There is so much harmony, peace, and a natural flow from one element to the next. It is soothing to the soul to walk or sit in a well-planned Japanese garden.

      Thank you for your kind words on my Feline Furballs lens. The love for Niko is still there. :)

    • SciTechEditorDave profile image

      David Gardner 9 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Nice lens! I've been to many Japanese gardens in *Japan*, for instance, in Narita and in Sapporo in addition to those in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. Here in the U.S., you can find nice gardens in San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco--and that's just here in the North California coastal area. Many Japanese movies feature their gardens as part of the plot or action. So much drama in such a subtle presentation. Very Zen!

      Thanks for a cool lens!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 9 years ago

      At the Denver Botanic Gardens there is a Japanese Garden - I love to go there to meditate! Nice lens.

    • SilverLotus1 profile image

      SilverLotus1 9 years ago

      Nice lens. I love Japanese gardens and most things Japanese. World of Netsuke

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 9 years ago

      as a young girl I would go almost everyday to the SF Golden Gate Park Japanese Garden...the love for this place has influenced all my gardens. 5*s

    • heathrow profile image

      heathrow 11 years ago

      It'd be neat to find some sort of directory of Japanese gardens. Where can I go in my area to find one?