I visited the Nitobe Garden last week, and the use of water and stone in the garden stood out to me. The Nitobe Garden is a chisen style garden, and it had chisen kaiyū elements in it (Sugiyama, 2015). Water is an important part of Nitobe Garden, as there is a floating stream, a dropping waterfall, and a reflecting pond in the garden. The movements of the water provid contrasting sounds and scenery, which give the visitors of the garden vivid and unique impressions. The floating stream moves slowly and quietly, with twists, turns, and drops along the way. The water in the stream was so clear and shallow that I felt my soul and mind were cleansed by the water. The sound of the waterfall was musical, which made the garden livelier, and the reflecting pond was relaxing and serene to look at.
Stone arrangements are also a key element in Nitobe Garden. There are stone arrangements along pathways in the garden, and rocks and stones are used in and around waters in the garden. The stones and rocks add texture to the garden, and the hardness of the stones create contrast with the softness presented by the water. There are several beautiful stone lanterns in the garden, and as Sugiyama stated, the stone lanterns were symbolically lit the pathway and cast a beam of light across the water. These lanterns were symbolically important.
Sugiyama, Ryo. “The Conventions of Japanese Gardens.’ Class PDF handout. 2015.
Contributor: Xin Zhao
(Edited by Elle Marsh)