Japonia Hortus

key to understand the Japanese garden

Kamakura period

       Samurai, Japanese warrior clans had been treated as  servants for nobles for long time, started to seize political power  in the imperial court, and finally, after the war between Heikeand  Minamoto clans, Minamoto clan took over the political powerof  Japan and opened Shogunate in Kamakura.
       In the period, Zen Buddhism was imported from China and  the strict principles ware widely accepted by Samurai. It greatly  affected Japanese philosophy and art; naturally, the Japanese  garden absorbed many ideas and beauties from Zen.
       The characteristic of Zen garden was that it imitatedharsh  landscape of Hokuso, Chinese kingdom where ZenBuddhism  had developed, and emphasizes the essence ofenlightenment.

       Muso-Soseki, a great Zen master in Kamakura period,  saidthat making Zen garden was an approach to the enlightenment.He made Erin-ji, Eiho-ji, and Tenryu-ji which were  considered asmaster pieces of Zen gardens and created one of the greatestJapanese gardens, Saiho-ji known as moss temple  now. Thisgarden was imitated by many gardens such Kinkaku-ji  andGinkaku-ji and influenced Japanese gardens afterward.

History and Varieties of Japanese Garden