Discover the Incredible Art of Japanese Gardens

A new book by Phaidon reveals how these exquisite spaces have inspired creative minds across the world

Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon
The Japanese Garden by Sophie Walker. Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon

From ancient Shinto shrines to modern urban parks, The Japanese Garden (Phaidon, $70), by British landscape designer Sophie Walker, explores the essence and diversity of one of the Far East’s most compelling art forms. In Japan, Walker notes, gardens are often sacred spaces, embodying the concepts of wabi-sabi, the acceptance of imperfection, and mitate, the layering of meanings. Essays by architects and artists such as Tadao Ando, John Pawson, and Anish Kapoor (Walker’s husband), along with drawings by David Hockney, Isamu Noguchi, and others, illustrate how these exquisite environments have inspired creative minds across the globe.

The Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, in Kyoto. Photo: JTB Media Creation Inc./Alamy Stock Photo, Courtesy of Phaidon
Adachi Museum Garden was conceived as a living painting. Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon
Kyoto‘s Chishaku-in garden boasts an lushly landscaped artificial hill. Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon
The Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto. Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon
Tairyu-Sanso is a regarded as a prime example of modern Japanese garden design. Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon
The Ise Grand Shrine was built around the ideas of purity and the nonvisible world. Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon
One of Japans’s oldest gardens, Toin Teien was created c. 710–84 and excavated in 1967. Photo: Courtesy of Phaidon

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