The most beautiful Japanese Zen gardens

Quels sont les plus beaux jardins secs à visiter au Japon ?

Le jardin zen est une des images d’Epinal du Japon : ces jardins secs, composés de sable, de rochers, de mousse, sont présents dans de nombreux temples zen du pays. On vous explique leurs origines et leur signification, mais aussi où voir les plus beaux jardins secs de l’archipel.

Zen gardens, karesansui, are also known as dry rock gardens or dry landscape gardens. This type of garden is called “dry” because it does not contain water, and very rarely plants. They generally consist of sand, gravel, rocks, possibly moss and some evergreen shrubs.


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The dry garden is a symbolic representation of the world, the established order and nature. It aims to eliminate, in accordance with the principles of Zen, all unnecessary elements, and therefore has a strong abstract character. It is still modest in size, and empty of all color, in a pure black and white, which refers to monochrome painting from the Song period. Here water is instead represented by sand or gravel, thanks to patterns of waves or waves made with a rake. It is up to the monks to take care of the maintenance of the Zen garden.

  • Read more: Zen, a school of Japanese Buddhism
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The creation of the dry gardens dates back to the fifteenth Century in the Zen temples and monasteries. One of the most emblematic dry gardens, whose creator remains unknown, is that of the Ryoanji in Kyoto.

During a stay in Japan, visits to temples and gardens are essential. It is rare to see Zen gardens outside of Japan: take advantage of your trip to discover the most beautiful Japanese dry gardens. Here is our selection of the most beautiful dry gardens, the majority of which can be found in the Kansai region.

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  • Read more: Visit the Zen temples of Kyoto

Address: 54-1 Murasakino Daitokujicho, Kita Ward, +61404532026 Kyoto Opening Hours: Open from 9 a.m to 5 p.m., until 4:30 p.m from December to February  [external_footer]