Japanese Tea Gardens also known as Roji style are a Japanese garden style which emphasized the Japanese tea house and its setting for the Japanese tea ceremony. The Japanese Tea Gardens attempt to isolate the visitor so they can concentrate on the tea ceremony.

Japanese Tea Gardens are intimately related to the tea house and the Japanese tea ceremony. Indeed the Japanese term for the Japanese Tea Garden style is Roil, which means path to the tea house. The Japanese Tea Garden style includes in an inner and outer garden with paths that convey the concept of an isolated mountain path. The tea ceremony guest enters the outer garden where they wait quietly in mediation, until they are invited through to the tea house. The inner and outer gardens are separated by a covered gate. When the guest enters the inner garden they wash their hands and rinse their mouth, just as they would before entering a Shinto shrine. Early tea houses were fully enclosed with no windows for the guest to look out at the garden during the tea ceremony. Most examples of tea houses today are the later style, which feature movable panels to allow guest to view the garden during the tea ceremony. Japanese Tea Gardens were first created during the Muromachi Period (1333–1573).

Japanese Tea Garden - Yoshikien Garden Nara

Japanese Tea Garden - Yoshikien Garden Nara



Kenrokuen Garden

Kenrokuen Garden is by far the most famous part of Kanazawa. Kenrokuen is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, maybe the best one of all as it is also designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty. Kenrokuen was first established in the 17th century by the feudal lords of Kaga as their private garden.


Sankei-en is a traditional Japanese garden in Naka Ward of Yokohama. Sankei-en was designed by the original owner Tomitaro Hara, known as Sankei Hara, with an inner and outer garden. Sankei-en is particularly popular in cherry blossom and Autumn leaves seasons. Autumn leaves is also significant because it contains ten designated Important Cultural Properties, including the iconic former Tomyo-ji three story pagoda.


Gyokurin-in Temple is a Buddhist temple, which is a sub temple of Daitokuji Temple and is within the same compound in Kyoto.

Katsura Imperial Villa also known as the Katsura Detached Palace, which is related to Kyoto Imperial Palace, but on a different site (hence detached) in western Kyoto. Katsura Imperial Villa features some of the best Japanese garden in all of Japan. Although the gardens are considered important, buildings are considered more so, with the whole site being considered one of Japan's most important large-scale cultural treasures.

Keishun-in Temple

Keishun-in Temple is a Buddhist temple, which is one of the thirty eight sub temples of Myoshinji Temple which is within the large Myoshinji Temple complex in north eastern Kyoto. Keishun-in Temple features several Japanese gardens and a tea house. Keishun-in Temple is one of the few Myoshinji Sub Temples which is normally open to the public.

Kodaiji Temple is a Buddhist temple from the Rinzai sect in Kyoto. Kodaiji Temple, formally known as Jubuzan Kodaiji, is the largest of the sub temples of Kenninji Temple. Kodaiji Temple was established in 1606 by the widow of Toyotomi Hideyoshi as a place to pray for late husband. Kodaiji Temple contains several items that are designated Important Cultural Assets including the Main Gate and Spirit Hall.

Koetsuji Temple

Koetsuji Temple, formally known as Taikyo-san, is a Buddhist temple of the Nichiren sect in northern Kyoto. The site of Koetsuji Temple was developed in 1615 when the artist Honami Koetsu received this land from Tokugawa Ieyasu. Koetsuji Temple was originally a mortuary for the Honami family, but was converted to a temple after the death of Koetsu. Koetsuji Temple is famous for bamboo fences, but also features a tea garden with three tea houses.

Koto-in Temple

Koto-in Temple is a Buddhist temple, which is a sub temple of Daitokuji Temple and is within the same compound in Kyoto. Koto-in Temple established in 1601 features two tea houses and is surrounded by moss covered gardens.

Sangen-in Temple

Sangen-in Temple is a Buddhist temple, which is a sub temple of Daitokuji Temple and is within the same compound in Kyoto. Sangen-in Temple was established in 1589 by Mitunari Ishida, Yukinaga Asano and Tadamasa Mori. The tea room of Sangen-in Temple, Koan, is a well known example of eight-windowed Oribe style. The tea room was constructed in the 17th century.

Urasenke Konnichian is a tea ceremony school which was established in 1956. Urasenke Konnichian features several tea ceremony training rooms, a tea ceremony museum and library. The grounds surrounding Urasenke Konnichian are a designated Important Cultural Property because the Japanese gardens surrounding Urasenke Konnichian contain several historic tea rooms which date back to the time of Sen Sotan, the third generation master.


Ise Grand Shrine is a Shinto Shrine complex in Ise Mie Prefecture, which is considered to be Shinto's most important sites. The Ise Grand Shrine complex includes 123 shrines focused around two primary shrines; Naiku (The Inner Shrine Kotai Jingu) and Geku (The Outer Shrine or Toyouke Daijingu). Naiku is south of central Ise City in Uji-tachi and is dedicated to the worship of the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu-omikami. Geku is 6km from Naiku and is dedicated to the worship of deity of agriculture and industry, Toyouke no omikami.


Yoshikien Garden

Yoshikien Garden is a beautiful traditional Japanese garden which features a tea house, a Pond Garden, Moss Garden and a Tea Ceremony Flower Garden. Yoshikien Garden is in Nara, near Nara Park and almost next to another famous garden, Isuien Garden.


Adachi Museum of Art is known for its collection of contemporary Japanese painting, however it is famous for its five Japanese gardens which are said to be the best in Japan. Adachi Museum of Art has been awarded as the most beautiful Japanese garden for eleven consecutive years in a row by The Journal of Japanese Gardening. The five gardens, which cover an area of 165,000 square meters, include: Moss Garden, Dry Landscape Garden, Juryu-an Garden, Pond Garden and White Gravel and Pine Garden. There is also the 15m high Kikaku-no-taki Waterfall. The gardens are designed to feature different parts in each season.

Author: Craig Fryer

Japanese Gardens


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