The Japanese Gardens

Elements / shrubs

The modern gardens of Japan are hosts to hundreds of species of garden flowers, as the recent study of Ran Levy-Yamamori and Gerard Taffee demonstrates (see our Bibliography), and a great variety of flowering plants, trees, vines, reeds and grasses were commonplace in the gardens of the Heian nobility, judging by references in literary sources of the time (Sakuteiki, The Tale of Genji, The Pillow Book, etc.). In the historic gardens of Kyoto, however, at least in their current condition, the variety is quite limited. Some can still be found, particularly water-loving flowers such as the iris, the water lily and the lotus; and flowering shrubs and vines--azaleas, rhododendrons, wisterias, hydrangeas, etc.--are commonplace. But the very early gardens of Kyoto may have been far more "flowery" than they are today.

(click thumbnail for larger image)  
return to Elements
Murin-an Jiko-in Shisen-do Ginkaku-ji
Shosei-en Tenju-an
Hokongo-in Shosei-en Shosei-en Tenju-an
Kaju-ji Ryoan-ji Ryoan-ji Tenju-an