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.

Popular Places to Visit in Sapporo for Tourists

A city chock-full of historical attractions, parks and food – that’s what Sapporo is. Based on the island of Hokkaido, there’s plenty for the casual adventurer to take in be it natural or man-made, as the culture of Japan lives strong in its 5th largest city.

Hokkaido, Japan
Hokkaido, Japan | Image by Magic Mary on Unsplash

Jozankei Onsen (Hot Spring)

Japan is a country well-known for its hot springs, so it’s almost necessary to include it in this list! In this case, there is history as well – the mineral-rich water has attracted visitors since 1866, many of them seeking the prized healing waters of the spring.

Hokkaido Jingu (Shrine)

For those more willing to take in the local culture, there exists the famous Hokkaido Shrine, one of the most important religious sites in the entirety of Japan. Constructed in 1857, it is one of the attractions that remain close to hotels near Sapporo Station, merely 20-30 minutes away by train or less if by car.

Sapporo Beer Museum

A little-known fact is that Hokkaido, the island on which Sapporo lies, is the birthplace of beer in Japan! Considering that fact, the Sapporo Beer Museum depicts the long history of beer-brewing in Japan, and its tour ends on a high note – drinking freshly brewed beer straight from the brewery. The museum itself is a short drive from accommodation properties for tourists to stay in, such as the Travelodge Sapporo Susukino.

Odori Park

Sitting in stark contrast to the high-rise buildings around it, the Odori Koen is a sweeping green vista that stretches for around 1.5 kilometres, which also serves to connect some of Sapporo’s attractions, making it a great place to visit for any tourist to have an organic walk-through of the city and its highlights.

Sapporo TV Tower

This 147-meter-tall marvel of human construction is considered one of Sapporo’s most famous attractions – and for good reason, as the view from the top is spectacular and the perfect place to have a meal, night or day. You can reach this spot from the earlier-mentioned Odori Park, making it a good spot to visit after an evening stroll for a night-time meal.