The Beauty of Moss

In Japanese aesthetics, imperfection, impermanence, and incompleteness are defined to express the beauty of arts. Wabi–sabi (侘寂) is the term that is used in Japanese to describe all these aspects and it consists of many characteristics. The use of moss in a Japanese garden represents one of the characteristics of wabi-sabi, that of “simplicity.” With sufficient humidity, moss is…

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The Water Element

In the Nitobe Garden, the main elements that were mentioned in Ryo Sugiyama’s presentation including water, stone, plants, and scenery objects were recognizable. One of the most interesting element that occupied a fairly large portion of the area of the garden would be the water element. In the Nitobe Garden, the visitors are able to…

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The Kasuga Stone Lantern

A tōrō, or a light tower, is a lantern usually made of wood, stone or metal and can be found in temples or shrines where they function as lights for pathways. They were first introduced to Japan from China. The tōrō found in the Nitobe Memorial Garden range in all different sizes and have different…

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Japanese Garden Lanterns

Inside the Nitobe Memorial Garden there are several lanterns found along the path that each serve as different representations of Nitobe Inazō’s life. While they fulfill this role of being symbolical to Nitobe, gardener Ryo Sugiyama says that lanterns have traditionally served a purpose in the garden to “symbolically light pathway” and “cast a beam…

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Designing from the Path Stone: Nitobe Memorial Japanese Garden

Japanese garden “is an art form that has developed over thousands of years.” [1] To create a Japanese garden, the use of path stones must be carefully selected, designed and arranged in the garden. Path stones can be categorized into three different styles: stepping-stones, paving stones and pebble stones. Stepping-stones are the bigger, flat type of stones. This…

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The Beauty of Odd Numbers

Last week, one convention that stood out for me from the presentation on Japanese gardens given by Mr. Sugiyama was the use of odd numbers, specifically the numbers seven, five and three. We were unable to easily track an academic, religious or philosophic reason behind this convention, but Mr. Sugiyama mentioned how there was a form of…

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The Odds and the Irregular

The Nitobe garden is a stroll type garden (池泉回遊) that surrounds a large pond. The roads are mostly laid with pebbles and surround the entire garden. However there are also a few exceptions of stepping stone paths that are laid with large rocks. It appears these serve to purposely lead guests in noticing specific scenic…

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Nitobe Garden’s Elements

The Nitobe Memoria Garden honours diplomat Inazo Nitobe whose goal was “to become a bridge across the Pacific” by promoting greater understanding between Japan and the West (Nitobe Memorial n.d., para. 3). This goal is supported by many features at the garden that also reflect core Japanese beliefs and philosophy. One of those features is…

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Nitobe Memorial Garden (Tea House)

As a student at the University of British Columbia, it is definitely a treasure to have Nitobe Memorial Garden, one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in North America here in our university. According to Mr. Ryo Sugiyama, the Japanese garden is “a symbol of Japanese spirit, harmonious beauty to have perfect balance between art…

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Bridges in Japanese Gardens

Traditional Japanese gardens, like the Nitobe Garden at UBC, are very different than traditional Western Gardens. According to Polat and Kaklik, “the role of the visitors in Japanese garden is important. The paths in gardens should provide wide sceneries to the visitors. Because of this, creation of scenery in the gardens its the first aim…

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