The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter 2. Garden Stones

Mikage Granite, Sado Jasper and Chichiby Limestone

Previous - Next

Numerous terms are applied to the stones employed in Japanese gardens. Some indicate merely their geological character or locality of production. Mikage stone is a kind of granite coming from a village of that name in the province of Settsu and Sado stone is a kind of jasper rock, of deep red colour, abundant in the island of Sado. Other kinds of granite produced in the neighbourhood of Osaka, from Hoki, Sanshiu, and Bingo, are much used for wrought slabs, steps, lanterns, and water basins. The irregular shaped blocks employed in the principal parts of a garden are generally limestones, which have been worn into interesting shapes by the action of water, or scoriaceous rocks due to igneous action. The blue and white limestones are brought principally from Mount Chichibu, in the province of Musashi, and from the river Yama-to-gawa in Kishiu; and the province of Iyo produces a rare specimen of yellowish hue. Some of these coloured limestones possess white veins of more compact formation than the general mass, which, having better resisted the wearing action, stand up in ridges and produce a grain somewhat resembling that of weather-worn timber. Such curious and vermiculated effects are specially sought after. Large slabs, ragged on edge, are extensively employed, and these consist of slates and schists, generally of dark grey and green tints. Nebukawa, a village in the province of Soshiu, is the source of much of this kind of stone. A favourite species of volcanic rock containing numerous cavities comes from the mountains in the province of Idzu, and a honeycombed sea-rock of somewhat similar appearance is brought from the neighbourhood of Odawara. Such material should be used with a due regard to place of production, water-rocks for example, being only applicable to water scenery. Small round stones of dark red colour, taken from the beds of the Kamogawa in Kioto, and the Tenriugawa in the province of Enshiu, are much employed for the channels of drains, basins, and water-courses.