Asia Tour

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Modern Japanese Garden

The Modern Japanese Garden
By Bill Doane Platinum Quality Author

The modern Japanese garden will only contain things that occur in nature. Japanese gardens offer a tranquil setting for relaxation and meditation. Elements of Japanese gardens include stones, water, plants, ornaments, borrowed scenery, and architecture. Elements for the garden will be in the proper scale; there will be no huge boulders placed in a tiny garden area.

The first element placed in the garden will usually be the stones. The stones are the main element of the garden. They are usually positioned in odd numbers and are grouped together in triangular shapes or randomly. They can be used for stepping stones or for viewing. Stones can be arranged to emphasize a faraway mountain or a nearby tree. The pathways that the stepping stones form represent a person's journey through life. The stones can be placed so that the person will slow down as they travel through the garden. Stones can be used to represent mountains or islands and to express the human emotions of strength and endurance.

Water features are an important element of a Japanese garden. Water symbolizes purity. The water features in the garden will appear to flow naturally as in streams or waterfalls or will be in ponds but not in fountains. Raked gravel is sometimes used to represent water.

There are many different Japanese garden styles. These include a Zen garden or dry garden, Japanese tea garden, a stroll garden, courtyard garden, and pond and island style.

In Japanese gardens, stone lanterns are often placed near a pond or a stream to represent the female and male elements of water and fire. This is known as yin and yang in Japanese tradition.

Japanese gardens will have empty spaces, and there will be no crowded spaces. The gardens will usually be enclosed with natural fencing and a gate or gates. The Japanese garden is always a work in progress and will never be completed. Asymmetry is another element of these gardens. There will be no straight lines or rows.

Flowers and colorful foliage are sparingly used to signify changing seasons in the Japanese garden. The flowering plants used are usually cherry or plum trees, azaleas, peonies, and chrysanthemums. Other plants commonly used include bamboo, moss, Japanese maples, and evergreens, such as Japanese black pine. Some plants may be chosen not only for their flowers but perhaps because of the attractive way they look with snow on the branches, raindrops on the stems, or sun shining through the leaves. Nothing unsightly should be used in the garden.

Bill Doane is a regular contributor to and is currently landscaping his gardens. Visit Modern Japanese Gardens, Home Garden Designs, and Garden and Lawn Sprinklers where you can find information on creating a magnificent garden.

Kyoto Japan -5 Fantastic Things to Do Where Traditional Japanese Culture Blends With Modern Miracles
By Steve Schulman Platinum Quality Author

Japanese society, being an intriguing mix of the old and the new, is one of the many reasons to visit Japan and find out more about Japanese culture and history.

One of the most popular tourist destinations is Kyoto Japan, an ancient city that was fortunate to have escaped the bombing during World War II. Its architectural glory has remained intact and Kyoto history can visually unwind before your eyes.

Kyoto, once the capital of Japan, is renowned for its wealth of shrines and temples. There are so many that you will need several vacations if you wanted to visit them all.

And because there are so many possible things to do you should be quite selective in planning your itinerary.

You may want to enjoy exploring the region and absorbing Kyoto history either on a bicycling or a walking tour.

The railway station in Kyoto Japan

Ironically, if you arrive by train, the first image you will see in this ancient city is a very modern structure.

The railway station itself in Kyoto Japan is huge and worth exploration in its own right. If you take the escalators up to the top you will go above roof level and enjoy spectacular views of the city from the viewing area.

This, the most important link in Japan's railway system, was opened in 1997.

Within the 15-story complex you will find a shopping center, a hotel, a department store and a cinema.

And, yes, there's even a helipad.

If you're traveling on a budget you can easily find numerous accommodations.

The Ryokan Guest Houses

The Ryokan Guest Houses, which are very popular, present the traditional side of Kyoto Japan.

Within them you'll find tatami floors and shoji screen doors, true symbols of Japanese culture.

Their furnishings are simple yet comfortable.

There are also a number of other guest houses, hostels, and budget hotels for business travelers as well as tourists.

Toji Temple

Toji Temple should be high on everyone's list of things to see.

It's Japans tallest wooden structure and has the largest pagoda of any in Japan on its grounds.

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle is one of the finest examples of a castle in Japan and it also is in Kyoto Japan.

The castle is comprised of a large moat, various gardens, two tea houses, buildings, and beautiful cherry trees.

Nijo Castle was completed almost 400 years ago, in 1626, and was given to the city in 1939.

The Kyoto International Manga Museum

The Kyoto International Manga Museum is one of the more unusual attractions you might want to visit.

The museum is the home of a collection of 200,000 comic books.

Realize that Manga Comics are a central part of Japanese culture and you'll see not only why they have become popular in the west as well, but also why you might want to read some of them on your visit to the Manga Museum.

To learn how to get the lowest possible prices on airfare, car rentals, hotels and cruises, take a look at a review of Save on Airfare now and learn how to make it happen. And, to find out how to make your greatest dream vacations come true, check out

(c) Copyright - Steve Schulman. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.