Kyoto’s gardens are among its most enduring attractions. More meditative than decorative, exhibiting a distinctive (mostly minimal) aesthetic that reveals both seasonal and timeless features. KJ contributing editor Marc Peter Keane is a recognized expert and prolific author on Japanese garden design, providing many insights into how Japanese society has traditionally coexisted with nature.

The Japanese Garden Database

Stroll through the gardens of Kyoto virtually:
Kyoto Gardens
The Bowdoin College Japanese Garden website, includes gardens in Kyoto, Nara and Kanazawa.


Kyoto’s Four Seasons
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by Hidehiko Mizuno

Advice to young garden designers in Kyoto:

Of course I am all for the conventional ways of learning. Visit many gardens, study Buddhist sculpture carefully, drink deep of history and all forms of traditional culture, and read, read, read. But don’t forget drinking. When you wander through town under the influence you become aware of all sorts of things in traditional construction that you couldn’t see before. They were meant to be discovered with the aid of sake.

—Sano Toemon
KJ 16 Kyoto Speaks