Japonia Hortus

key to understand the Japanese garden

Jomon culture, Yayoi culture and Kofun period

       There is no evidence of garden in these eras; however, originof the Japanese garden can be seen in remains of stonearrangements and earth works.
       In the ancient time, Japanese people believed in animism  and felt spirituality in stones and rocks. In Jomon culture, stone  circles appeared and used as places for praying and festival.Large natural rocks were considered a stage where an animismspirit visited, and later people started to assemble rocks to makean artificial stage for a spirit; this kind of stone works and naturalstones are called Iwakura and to set stones boundary aroundholly place is called Iwasaka.
       Also, a pond and islands were set in a holly place and spiritswere enshrined in each island. For example Ajiki-jinja enshrined13 sprits and thus 13 islands were placed in a pond before. Thiskind of ponds and islands are called Shinchi and Shinto.
Tatetsuki Tomb in Yayoi Culture
Goshikizuka Tomb in Kofun Period
       In Kofun period (Tomb period), Yamato imperial family(which continues to Japanese emperor today) increased power inJapan and created huge tombs called Zenpokoen-fun (fore-square-back-circle tomb in direct translation, looks like key holeof old days to me).
       These tombs were not only burial places for emperors andnobles but also displays of power for other clans in Japan. Thistype tombs spread to most of Japan and even to part of Korea;the techniques of tomb making later used to create earth andstone works for gardens.

       Normally, Zenppokoen-fun is abandoned and becomes like anatural forest, yet Goshikizuka-tomb, the biggest Zenppokoen-funin Hyogo-ken, was restored to its original shape recently. It isgood example to learn Zenpokoen-fun of the time.@

History and Varieties of Japanese Garden