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temple gardens

Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto - 1

Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto - 2

Ryoan-ji, Kyoto - 1

Ryoan-ji, Kyoto - 2

Japanese gardens, where the moss is hand-swept and the grass hand-shaven, are living works of art, striving to balance meticulous craftmanship with the unpredictable properties of nature, season and weather to create glimpses of transcendent beauty (enjoyed optimally at certain times from certain viewpoints, with the rest of the crowd).

Photos are from temple gardens in Kyoto, the Kinkaku-ji (the Temple of the Golden Pavilion) and Ryōan-ji. The latter is home to the famous Zen garden ('karesansui'), which represents Japanese gardening at its most austere and mystifying.

Built in the 15th century by an anonymous designer, this 'mind-scape' contains 15 rocks in a bed of white gravel, arranged in such a way that from any angle you can only see 14. According to Buddhist tradition, only after attaining enlightenment can one see all 15...

Ryoan-ji, Kyoto - 3
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