Tales of a Japanese gardener

15 Sep 2017 in Discover Japan

Get an insider’s view on Japanese gardens! Read our exclusive interview with a Kyoto-based gardener.

gardener-interview-2

A gardener for 20 years, Mr. Inoue works for the Kyoto-based company UEYAKATO LANDSCAPE. He maintains both private gardens, including the grounds of HOSHINOYA Kyoto, and the gardens of some of Kyoto’s most celebrated temples.

Japanese garden

We asked him about the unique world of Japanese gardening.

What characterizes the Japanese approach to gardening?

There are two approaches. This first is to maintain the garden as it is, so visitors always enjoy the same experience – which is what we do at big temples.

Traditional garden in Japan

But for younger gardens like HOSHINOYA Kyoto, which is only 8 years old, you need to consider how the garden will develop.

Zen environnement in Kyoto

When I prune trees, I’m constantly imagining the view guests will have from their room in the years to come.

What are the most important elements in a Japanese garden?

The key to any Japanese garden is the role of nature. Every element – water features, stone features, etc. – should be an extension of nature rather than a manmade creation. For example, we believe moss is beautiful because it occurs naturally.

Geishas in Kyoto

At HOSHINOYA Kyoto, I’ve narrowed the garden path by taking away gravel and letting moss cover it. Nature must be allowed to express itself.

Which is your favourite season?

Spring and autumn! At HOSHINOYA Kyoto, the maple trees become bright green in spring and yellow and red in autumn.

Kyoto in autumn

But the garden is designed so guests can enjoy colours in each season.

HOSHINOYA Kyoto

Even in winter, we have trees with yellow seeds and fruit.

What qualities do you need to be a good gardener?

Attention to detail is essential. But you also need to understand nature by immersing yourself in it as much as possible.

Japanese gardener tips

Japanese garden

It’s about finding inspiration in the beauty of the world and then replicating it in the garden.

OTHER EXPERIENCES

Traditional Matsuri celebration

Japan, land of celebration

06 Jul 2016 in Discover Japan

Do you know that the Japanese celebrate more than 300 festivals each year? These are called Matsuri in Japan. Discover the must-attend events that draw crowds throughout the nation… Read more

mount-asama-winter

4 must-visit volcanoes in Japan

30 Mar 2018 in Discover Japan

Japan is home to 111 active volcanoes – or roughly 10% of all those in the world. Discover our pick of the best to visit! Read more

ninja

Tracking down ninja history

08 Mar 2019 in Discover Japan

Discover the hidden doors and secret rooms of old ninja houses! Read more

OTHER EXPERIENCES

uji-temple

3 reasons to discover the town of Uji

28 Nov 2018 in Discover Japan

Never heard of Uji? It has history, literary fame and great green tea! Read more

fire

Wakakusa Yamayaki: the festival with the flaming hill

19 Jan 2018 in Discover Japan

Giant rice crackers are thrown. And a hill is set on fire! Discover Nara’s eccentric festival. Read more

valentine-day-japan

Valentine’s Day and White Day

07 Feb 2018 in Discover Japan

Find out why women give chocolates to multiple men, but men give nothing at all! Read more

most popular articles