weekly photo challenge: ambience
The Japanese rock garden (枯山水 karesansui?) or “dry landscape” garden, often called a zen garden, creates a miniature stylized landscape through carefully composed arrangements of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and uses gravel or sand that is raked to represent ripples in water. A zen garden is usually relatively small, surrounded by a wall, and is usually meant to be seen while seated from a single viewpoint outside the garden, such as the porch of the hojo, the residence of the chief monk of the temple or monastery. Classical zen gardens were created at temples of Zen Buddhism in Kyoto during the Muromachi period. They were intended to imitate the intimate essence of nature, not its actual appearance, and to serve as an aid to meditation about the true meaning of life.
We visited Banryutei, Japan’s largest rock garden covering nearly 2400 square meters. It is located on top of Mt. Koya. The garden’s arrangement, composed of 140 granite stones, was completed in 1984. The stones are presented to suggest two dragons descending from the clouds to protect Kongobu-ji (the temple).