Published: February 2015
In their rocks and plants, empty spaces and intimate details-Kyoto's gardens manifest a unique ability to provoke thought and delight in equal measure. These carried landscapes meld the sensuality of nature with the disciplines of cosmology, poetry and meditation. Japanese aristocrats created these gardens to display not just wealth and power, but cultural sensitivity and an appreciation for transcendent beauty. A class of professional gardeners eventually emerged, transforming Japanese landscape design into formalized art. Today, Kyoto's gardens display an enormous range of forms-from rock gardens of extreme minimalism and subtle hues, to stroll gardens of luscious proportions and vibrant colours.