Japanese-Style Gardens: The Strolling Garden

The strolling garden (Kaiyu-shiki-teien) is basically a Japanese-style garden walk in which visitors are taken around a deliberately designed pathway so as to see the various changing vistas and set views designed for that purpose.

Artificial hills, artificial ponds, broad winding streams and waterfalls with islands, rocks and topiary emphasize the rusric ideal. There are paths and bridges in great number and variety, with a tea garden tucked away in a small separate garden within the strolling garden.

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Bridges can take several forms. The Steep Bridge is arched and usually painted red and black, but bridges are often simple planks laid across a narrow stretch of water. There may be stepping stones across the water as well as in the gravel or moss. Typically, both plants and rocks are rounded bun shapes and vertical elements are provided by trees. The ponds are full of golden carp.

The gateway to the strolling garden is a pergola-like structure with a roof. The whole garden is dotted with trained and shaped conifers and miniature conifers. Ponds have many rocks and grass right up to the edges. This sort of strolling garden can be bounded by bamboo screens or it can merge gradually into natural woodland. Clipped paths and interestingly shaped rocks can show up to advantage against a white-painted wall.

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