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admin | reflection of the past meaning | 08.03.2015
Zen Garden: The Art of Relaxation album for sale was released Jan 01, 2013 on the Allegro label. To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. The gardens of Japan have fascinated ever since the 1854 Treaty of Kamagawa opened the country to the West and they first came to the attention of the garden-making cognoscenti.
Katsura Imperial Villa (Katsura Rikyu) The Katsura Imperial Villa, commenced in 1624 for Prince Toshihito, brother of Emperor Goyozei, and completed in 1645 by his son Toshitada, is considered one of the finest examples of Japanese architecture. Take A Guide to the Gardens of Kyoto by Marc Treib and Ron Herman (Kodansha International, A?12.99). Imitations are now commonplace, but they cannot be anything more than that; for in order to appreciate this art form fully it must be experienced in its contextual environment.
Covering some 17 acres and the first of its type, the stroll garden here became the archetype for such landscapes throughout the Edo period (1603-1868). In order to savour a garden as empty as possible , visit on a weekday and plan to arrive for opening time. A number of gardens are illuminated and the crowds do not detract from the surreal-magical experience.

In contrast to the Zen style of viewing gardens, stroll gardens are entered and progress is made along a prescribed route by means of gravel paths, stepping stones and bridges, with an expanse of water always to the viewer’s right, and various garden buildings carefully positioned along the route. Here one can immerse oneself in a millennium of garden-making culture and enjoy the various stylistic expressions of imperial and religious establishments. Permission must be obtained at least four days in advance from the Imperial Household Agency next to Kyoto Imperial Palace.
In mid-November the foliage of the numerous Japanese maples sets the gardens aflame with vivid reds, oranges and yellows, their colours made all the more vibrant by the soft autumnal sunshine, for at this time of year the Kyoto climate is most pleasant.
Fifteen-minute walk from Katsura Station Ryoan-ji The grounds of Ryoan-ji, originally the estate of a nobleman of the Heian period, became a temple of the My?shinji school of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism in the mid-1470s.
Cool nights and mornings give way to daytime temperatures of 10-14 C, with lots of sunshine. The buildings were burned down during the Onin War (1467-1477) and rebuilt at the end of the century. But while their number denotes completeness in Buddhism, their arrangement is such that from whatever viewing point taken, only 14 are visible. It was believed that only when spiritual enlightenment was attained would the 15th rock become visible .

The scale of the scatter of small islands, enhanced by shaped pine trees and arrangements of rare Hatakeyama rocks, together with the pond’s sinuous outline are designed to emphasise the pavilion while creating the illusion that the garden is larger than it is. The garden ascends the steep hillside behind the pavilion to the Tranquillity pond and the Sekkatei Teahouse, and when viewed from across the Mirror pond, the perspective ingeniously makes full use of the distant Mount Kinugasa. Made between 1611 and 1632, it is one of few gardens unequivocally attributable to the renowned designer Kobori Enshu. Surrounded by elegant plants growing in a sea of moss, this has echoes of a mini-stroll garden. With its crane-and-tortoise imagery, the large dry garden (Isshidan) was created in the 1980s, and provides an interesting modern take on an ancient tradition. The Nozomi train takes about 2hrs 20mins to cover the 319 miles (513 km), while the cheaper Hikari and Kodama trains take at least 25mins longer.

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