Japanese Garden Landscaping
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Japanese Garden Lantern




Among all the Japanese garden landscaping ornaments, Japanese lanterns is the most identifiable garden ornament. That is true!

Whenever we think of a Japanese garden landscaping, the first thing always spring to our mind is a stone lantern. These lanterns are usually carved from granite. They are elaborate pieces of work that usually involve several interlocking pieces.

The simplest of them combine a base, a stand, a hollow latticed opening for the light, and a roof in the swooping Asian style.

Japanese Granite Lanterns (Ishi-Doro) were originated from China over a thousand years ago, at first they were made of metal and primarily used to light doorways to shrines and temples.

They were later made of stone for use in Japanese garden landscaping, but it wasn't until they were introduced into Japanese tea gardens by tea-master Sen-no-Rikkyu did they become a major garden element.

Japanese tea ceremonies were often held in the evenings and light was needed to guide guests to the tea-room.

There are four basic styles with many variations:

Kasuga (Tachi-gata: pedestal style lanterns)
Misaki (Oki-gata: small, set lanterns)
Oribe (Ikekomi-gata: buried style lanterns)
Yumiki (Yumiki-gata: snow-viewing lanterns)




Japanese Garden Lantern - Japanese Kasuga Lantern The Kasuga lantern is a classic example of a Japanese "tachi-gata" or pedestal style lantern. It has a Pagoda style kasa or hat and a side penal featuring image of a deer; deer served as messengers of Gods carry news from paradise according to the legend. This style of lantern dates back to the Ashikaga period.

Kasuga lanterns are usually placed in a prominent location near a gate, entrance or path intersection - named after the ancient Kasuga Shine in Nara, Japan. It was traditionally used as a "guardian" lantern at Japanese Buddhist temples and are frequently seen at entrances to Japanese tea gardens.

Today Kasuga lantern is commonly used as a focal point for a Japanese garden landscaping design, and the stone carvings on the light box often relate to its origin. The lantern is carved from salt and pepper grey granite.





Japanese Lantern - Misaki Lantern The Misaki is a round oki-gata (small or set) styled lantern carved from granite, based on the design of bronze temple lanterns from the Asuka period. One of the most classic pieces can be found at the "Katsura Imperial Palace" near Kyoto.

These lanterns came into favour when the land price rises made it difficult for us to build large Japanese garden landscaping spaces. An Oki-gata lantern can be used to create a point of interest in a compact and more intimate garden.

The Misaki Japanese Lantern is frequently placed on a flat stone near the edge of a pond just sitting out of the water or at the side of a path or placed on a bed of pebbles forming "spit of land", this lantern can be used with great effect simply sited in dry garden.


Garden Japanese Lantern - Oribe Lantern has a carved Buddha on its pedastal stone. The Oribe style lantern is one of the oldest known Japanese Lanterns, at first the lantern was produced in the Momyana period by warlord Furuta Oribe.

The Oribe is a square Japanese stone lantern, a classic representation of a "planted" style for they do not have a base stone at the bottom – it is simply buried part way to the ground.

The Oribe Lantern has a carved Buddha on its pedastal stone and often thought of it to be that of a praying missionary, thus sometimes it is also referred to as the "Christian" lantern.

Today, Oribe Japanese Lantern is one of the most popular lantern in Japanese garden landscaping, it is a truly wonderful lantern that will grace your garden :)


Japanese Stone Lantern - Walabi Yukimi Lantern The Yukimi Lantern is also known as the "snow viewing lantern" for when the granite lantern's cap captures the snow fall. Little is known of their history but it is thought they were introduced during the Edo period (1615-1867).

The lantern is believed to be at its greatest beauty reflecting the purity of simple lines. In Japanese garden landscaping, Yumiki lanterns are easily identified by its hexagonal, round or octagonal roof (kasa) which in winter it will hold snow – the reason they are referred to as snow viewing lanterns.

Yukimi lanterns are very popular to place near water elements like ponds and streams, directly on the ground or on a flat stone. In actual they are suited to most areas of the landscape and can be sited at anywhere to add a truly beautiful feature to your landscape garden design.

A Yukimi-gata lantern is measured by the diameter of its roof. It is great when you can consider placing a single candle in the lamp housing to brighten and grace your garden with calming influence at night.

Japanese Lanterns - Yumiki Lanterns - Antique Yukimi, Kodai Yukimi, Maru Yukimi and Rokkaku Yukimi
Japanese Garden Landscaping - Japanese Garden Lanterns



Many famous gardens house lanterns that are comprised of multiple levels, each level housing a separate light. In ancient times candles were placed in the lighting area, but today it can be drilled and outfitted for electric lighting without sacrificing their lovely properties.

As the Japanese lanterns are made with stones, they give us a natural mood while we are in a Japanese garden landscaping. The natural feature of the stone with its well-built design will also give us a rich and creative feel.

The stone makes Japanese lantern a distinguishable garden ornament - symbolizing durable and strong that can withstand years, decades and centuries of both societal and seasonal changes.





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