Journeying Into Japanese Gardens

The country of Japan is more serene than most and can be seen in its beautiful, tranquil gardens. Shaped by principles of balance and harmony with nature, the Japanese garden isn’t merely a collection of shrubs and bushes, but an experience to engage with beauty beyond time and serenity beyond explanation. Dig deep and prepare yourself for insights into Asian culture and living.

Daniel X. O’Niel, Japanese garden view 3, CC BY 2.0

The Allure

With meticulous design and subtle elegance, the gardens of Japan are treated as an escape – a getaway from the bustle of daily life. Going beyond a simple arrangement of flowers and trees, the approach to gardening mirrors the philosophies of Japanese culture, embodying a profound respect for nature and representing inner tranquillity. As if stepping into a different world, away from the chaos of urbanism, it’s no wonder that it’s considered something close to purification in people’s hearts.

The Essence

Understanding the essence of a Japanese garden is quite simple – the space is designed for contemplation and meditation, encapsulating the spirits of nature and harmony. Different from the modern day, the Japanese people used to be one that lived in balance with nature, admiring the powers of Mother Earth, and worshipping the mountains, forests, and seas of the country. This reverence still remains to this day, as seen from the sights visible from hotels in Osaka, Japan.

The Design Principles

Any Japanese garden is designed with four major principles in mind – Water, Stones, Plantings, and Scenic Objects. These elements work together to create a balanced and harmonious atmosphere – from the water’s position as a source of life to the background scenery of the objects placed.

The Examples

There are what’s known as the Three Great Gardens of Japan – easily reachable from accommodations like the Travelodge Honmachi Osaka. Consider visiting Kenroku-En, Kairaku-En, and Koraku-En, each with its own distinct character and design, for insights into the principles mentioned earlier being put into practice. The allure of these places is easily perceived through aesthetics and tranquil atmospheres, a testament to the profoundly deep culture of Japan.

Experiencing Japanese Festivals

Fancy delving into the heart of Japan that will take you across the entirety of the nation? Then check out these fascinating festivals & celebrations that are considered hallmarks of Japanese culture.

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Daderot, Interior – Takayama Festival Float Exhibition Hall – Takayama, Gifu, Japan – DSC06591, CC0 1.0

Nebuta Festival

Regarded as one of the more important festivals when summer dawns in Tohoku, Nebuta Festival is associated with the building of warlord-shaped lantern floats or ‘nebutas’ which are used to parade through the streets. Held annually from the 2nd – 7th of August, the visitor will be greeted by scenes of smiling locals clad in Haneto costumes and floral straw hats that make for the perfect capture on your camera.

Michinoku Yosakoi Festival

Though, held across Japan, Sendai’s Michinoku Yosakoi Festival sees the gathering of over 5,000 dancers and 150 teams in mid-October for one jaw-dropping display. An event which dates back to 1998, the Festival is synonymous with flag twirls, spins and a wide array of dance moves that complement the elaborate costumes worn which mirror the traditional kimono.

Sapporo Snow Festival

Associated with slips, slides and many a snow game, the Sapporo Snow Festival is celebrated in February and is your ‘go-to’ event if you happen to be staying in Japan during winter. Held in Sapporo, Hokkaido, this enthralling spectacle takes on varying levels of fun and engagement with ice sculptures, snow slides, curling and even snowball fights among its main highlights.

Takayama Festival

Divided into 2 distinct festivals, Takayama Festival comprises the Sanno Festival (spring) and the Hachimangu Festival (autumn). With the former, you will be rewarded with cherry blossom sightings and locals offering prayers at the Hie Shrine in the hope of a bountiful harvest. In light of the latter, patrons will catch a glimpse of gigantic, illuminated yatai floats being paraded through the Edo-era streets of Gifu. For those staying at Travelodge Honmachi Osaka which is one of the hotels in Osaka Japan, visiting Gifu in April and October will be worthy investments of one’s time.