Japanese convertible garden

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In Suizenji Park, Kumamoto.
In Ritsurin Park, Takamatsu.
Kotoji (Yukimi) stone lantern in Kenrokuen, Kanazawa.

The Japanese Changing Garden ( Japanese 回遊 式 庭園 , kaiyūshiki teien ) is a Japanese landscape garden with bodies of water to wander through and rest, which arose from 1600.


After the aristocratic convertible gardens of the Heian period had disappeared with a few exceptions, a new form of convertible garden in two variants developed around 1600. They always contain landscapes and waters, but differ in the components used and in the fact that the daimyō's changing gardens are spatially separated from the residence, while those of the imperial family are laid out with direct reference to the residence.

Frequently used components are:

  • Central island ( Nakajima ), crane ( tsurushima ) and turtle island ( kameshima ), island of the blissful ( Hōraishima ), "dam over the western lake ", hills
  • Stone washers for temple columns ( garan-seki ), laid stones ( shiki-ishi ), slab paths ( nobedan ), loosely laid square slabs ( tobi-ishi ), crossing a body of water with stones ( sawatari ),
  • Full moon bridge ( engetsukyō ), zigzag bridge ( yatsubashi ), hand basin ( chōzubachi ), stone lanterns ( ishi-dōrō )
  • Teahouses and pavilions.

Changing gardens of the daimyo

The main changing gardens are from north to south:

  • Mito: Kairaku-en , first created in 1842, known for its plum blossom.
  • Tokyo
    • Hamarikyu Park , on the edge of Edo Bay, a park that is u. a. as a special feature contains bird berths .
    • Kiyosumi Park , modernized - restored by the Iwasaki family at the beginning of the Meiji period.
    • Koishikawa Kōrakuen , the large changing garden with many landscape quotations from Japan and China.
    • Rikugi-en , the “Garden of the Six Principles” and 88 excellent spots in the garden.
    • Shibarikyū Park , similar to Hamarikyū Park on the bay, but much smaller.
  • Kanazawa: Kenroku-en , laid out on the ridge in front of the castle and traversed by water. The Yukimi stone lantern "Kotoji" by the water is well known.
  • Nagoya: Tokugawa-en , restored plant of the Owari-Tokugawa .
  • Wakayama: Yōsui Park , a large expanse of water surrounded by pine trees.
  • Okayama: Kōraku-en , a riverside garden that u. a. has a Noh stage.
  • Tsuyama: Shūraku-en , a well-preserved garden laid out on the edge of a small castle town.
  • Hiroshima: Shukkei-en , shows, as the name says, “compressed landscape”, ( 縮 景 , shukkei ). The ginkgo is known, the only plant there to have survived the atomic bomb.
  • Takamatsu: Ritsurin Park , an expansive changing garden that includes the hills in the background as a “borrowed landscape” ( 借 景 , shakkei ).
  • Kumamoto: Suizenji Park , offers u. a. the "53 stations of the Tōkaidō" in the context of a miniature landscape.

Kairaku-en, Kenroku-en and Kōraku-en form the " Three Famous Gardens of Japan " ( 日本 三名 園 , Nihon san meien ).

Convertible gardens of the imperial house

All three gardens are in Kyoto:

  • Garden of the Katsura villa , freely designed but traversed by linear structures.
  • Garden of the Sentō Palace at the southeast end of the Imperial Palace with a clear Meiji period design.
  • Garden of the Shugakuin villa , a beautifully landscaped, three-part complex on the slope.

To visit these gardens, you must register with the Kyoto office of the Imperial Court Office ( 宮内 庁 京都 事務所 ).


  • Hayakawa, M .: The Garden Art of Japan . Heibonsha / Weatherhill, 1973. ISBN 9780834810143 .