The Garden Guide

Book: C.M Villiers Stuart Gardens of the Great Mughals
Chapter: Chapter 10 How the Lotus of the Good Law went a-voyaging

Buddhist garden buildings in Japan

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It is still more interesting to trace the influence of climate on Buddhist garden building, how it expanded in the moist atmosphere of Japan where the rainfall is twice as heavy as it is even in our own rainy islands; and where the frequent danger of earthquakes and the consequent use of wooden buildings must not be lost sight of. The Japanese landscape garden suffers with us to some extent from its name, for unlike the English landscape style, which had only a mistaken romanticism behind it, garden craft in Japan is as exquisitely balanced and restrained in its harmony of house and garden as is the most formal old English pleasance or stately Mughal bagh. Throughout every Japanese garden, from the largest to the smallest, the scale of the whole design is strictly maintained, so that the house, the garden gates, the enclosing railings, even the stone lanterns, all combine to enhance and emphasise its general character. So strong is the national feeling for beauty in its real sense of balance and unity, that the most valuable garden ornament may be worthless in the eyes of the owner of a simple garden.