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Metro Nature in Kyoto, Japan

11/15/16 | View Comments

In present day Kyoto, a mix of contemporary metro nature such as street trees, mixed-commercial green space, urban shrines, and indoor office vegetation exist alongside traditional and ancient gardens. It is these contemporary metro nature spaces that can provide design examples for urban planners and community members.

Traditional Japanese gardens are known for detailed design patterns and embedded cultural and spiritual symbolism. Garden design arose in Japan in the 7th century, borrowing ideas from Chinese design. For hundreds of years, gardens were built for aristocrats, and more recently for Zen Buddhist meditation practice. Not until the 16th century did the commoners ‘tea garden’ design develop for use in everyday life. Japanese garden design styles today also include promenade gardens and small courtyards. In this decade, researchers and landscape designers in Japan, North America and Europe collaborate to understand human perception and health response within Japanese gardens.

Kinkaku-ji, “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”, is a World Heritage Site and Zen Buddhist temple. Along with a tragic history of fire and ruin, it represents an iconic temple with several architectural styles, embellishment, and an enveloping ‘promenade’ garden. It is physically set apart from the urban Kyoto landscape and invokes a feeling of surround and awe. It is a traditional example of architecture and garden design.

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