The Japanese Gardens

Elements / Streams

Recent excavations in and around the ancient palace at Nara have revealed the remains of two gardens, each of which contained a running stream. Such "stream gardens"--the Japanese term is yarimizu-- probably imitated Chinese or Korean designs, although the Japanese versions may have departed radically from their mainland prototypes. The stream is a major element in Chinese and Japanese landscape paintings, partly because it represents the Daoist notion of permanent impermanence, always flowing yet always the same. The stream garden may draw upon the same inspiration, but it is also connected with the poetry contests of the nobility (see the entry under Kyuseki).

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Kyuseki, Nara Kenroku-an Taizo-in Taizo-in
Daisen-in Kyoto Gosho
Taizo-in Murin-an Daisen-in Kyoto Gosho
Ninna-ji Shugaku-in Murin-an Seiryu-en, Nijo Castle