The Japanese Garden – A Book to Cure My Fernweh

When Fernweh strikes me and I cannot travel to a place I long for, I turn to books. In Japan, I loved going for walks through all those meticulously designed and well-tended gardens that are so typical for the country.  Back home I often long for their serenity and calm beauty. So, I was really thrilled when I found “The Japanese Garden” by Sophia Walker, a garden designer in her own right. I was even more thrilled when the boyfriend gave it to me for my birthday.

Thanks to the beautiful, ethereal photography in the book I now can go back to some of my happy places in Japan whenever I want. Also, with its green cover and the cut out circle that reveals the millennial pink first page, the book makes a great addition to any sideboard of coffee table. You can purchase the book via Amazon or check your local bookstore if they have it!

Some Outtakes from “The Japanese Garden”

Find some images from the book “The Japanese Garden” alongside some quotes by the author, Sophie Walker, from this interview with Phaidon Press down below.

Funda-in, Tōfuku-ji Complex, Rinzai Zen, Kyoto, 1460–68, Muromachi Period (restored in 1939, Shōwa Period), Sesshū Tōyō (original), Mirei Shigemori (restoration and East Garden). Picture credit: © John Lander (page 214)

«The Japanese garden has a very distinct visual character – so much so there can be no mistaking it as being ‘Japanese’ – the decoration and motifs are highly sophisticated and we come to recognise them. As a garden-maker I’m drawn to the Japanese garden because I am interested in how successful these gardens are at engaging their visitor.»

Shisen-dō, Sōtō Zen Buddhism, Kyoto, 1641, Edo Period, Ishikawa Jōzan. Picture credit: Photograph © Sophie Walker (page 178)

Tairyūsansō, Kyoto, 1896–99 and 1905, Meiji Period, Kanetsune Ijuin, and later Jihei Ogawa. Picture credit: Photograph © Sophie Walker (page 89)

Adachi Museum Garden, Yasugi, 1970, Shōwa Period, Zenkō Adachi. Picture credit: © Malcolm Raggett (page 133)

«Another particularly Japanese design tool is the set-up of the garden that cannot be entered – the gardens of Zen temples, or small residential courtyard gardens that are designed to be looked onto and not physically entered – again this is a completely foreign set up to most garden forms.»

Kennin-ji, Rinzai Zen Buddhism, Kyoto, 1202, Kamakura Period. Picture credit: Photograph © Sophie Walker (pages 170-171)

Genkō-an, Sōtō Zen Buddhism, Kyoto, Early Edo Period. Picture credit: © Akira Nakata (page 172)

Kahitsukan Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art, Kyoto, 1981, Kajikawa Yoshitomo with Akenuki Atsushi. Picture credit: Photograph © Sophie Walker (page 235)

«What we see in the Japanese garden depends upon ourselves – depends upon the imagination we afford to the scene before us.»

Ise Jingū (Ise Grand Shrine), Ise, Third/fifth century, Kofun Period. Picture credit: Aurora Photos/Alamy Stock Photo (page 76)

Disclaimer: All images published with the kind permission of Phaidon Press Ltd. All quotes by Sophie Walker. This post might contain affiliate links.

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