Ryoanji Garden – Kyoto


There is no doubt this is one of the most impressive man-made stone gardens in Kyoto, or on our planet. The condition is immaculate and the raking of the stones, is precisely executed. The stones are seven on each side and the stone sizes and patterns all add to the complexity of the setting. This garden is very complex in structure of many parts.

The garden has small off white stones, a border in cream-colored stone, a second border with larger black stones and another stone set against the floor of the temple’s stone.

The rocks jut out as if they are part of a scenery and represents to each viewer an abstraction of mountains and sea. The back wall is manicured and yet untouched. The shadows of the fence framework the idea of the story, while the Sakura tree in the background tries to blossom. The waves of raked stones and their varying directions take your eyes into a three-dimensional picture.

The garden is stalling time, giving the viewer the chance to see his own reflection and ideas. Temples are places of worship, the silence of a picture, a representation of nature and humanity, and the interaction of place and time. The horizontal lines at the fence frame the idea and the connection between nature is disconnected by the wall. Yet the wall is complementary to the overall setting connecting the inside spaces and the outside spaces and the garden entirety.

The garden is made of mostly hard materials, and the branch leans over the wall and it is connected, yet disconnected and it is complementary, all at the same time. Most the of trees are set off from the garden itself and it is only the branches of the Sakura that hang over the wall, a gracefulness of long branches softening the garden’s hardness.

But the garden sends a clear message to viewers, which is – see, feel, imagine and connect.