In Japanese gardens, visitors find nature condensed and brought to perfection. Trees are trained and sculpted until they epitomize the very best of the trees' tree-like qualities; the finest natural landscapes are reproduced in miniature; and the seasons are celebrated with spring blossom and the fiery leaves of autumn. This book showcases twenty-eight of the finest examples.
Here are gardens such as Ryoan-ji, which originated in the golden age of the great aristocratic garden, when the heart of the garden was a pond decorated with rocky islands, inlets and peninsulas. Dry gardens like Saiho-ji - a dynamic arrangement of carefully placed rocks that suggests the flow of a great mass of water - express the simpler and austere aesthetic of Zen Buddhism. Tea ceremony gardens, created as a place of transition between everyday existence and a more contemplative world, include Konchi-in.
Gardens such as Katsura Rikyu exemplify stroll gardens: large, beautifully landscaped parks where a narrow, winding path leads visitors along the water's edge, over bridges and stepping stones, through groves of beautifully pruned trees, between artificial rolling hills and past tea houses and elaborate arrangements of rocks.
While Alex Ramsay's photographs capture the gardens' beauty, Helena Attlee elegantly and informatively explains their composition, the people and influences who made them, and how in all old and new are interleaved. Words and pictures marry to make a most pleasing introduction to the gardens of Japan.
This book cannot be bettered as an introduction to the subject for visitors - a ravishingly beautiful and inspirational read that makes you want to jump on the next plane to Tokyo. BBC Gardens Illustrated Having visited the gardens of Kyoto extensively I was almost afraid to open this book in case it disappointed. It didn't. The photographs capture the detail and ethos. The prose is informed and I'm able to recapture my experiences through this wonderful book. Oxford Times Attlee's informative text is supported by the photography of Alex Ramsey, who has captured the elegance and majestic quality of these immaculately groomed gardens. Featuring iconic Japanese imagery: koi carp in milky ponds, trained trees, stepping stones, spring blossoms and vibrant autumn leaves, this book is a real treat for the eye. Outdoor Photography Featuring unusual and relatively remote examples alongside the famous raked gravel and rocks of Ryogen-in and the temple moss gardens of Kyoto it is also packed with atmospheric detailed shots of stone tsukubai or water basins used for water purification, flowers floating on water and so on that are every bit as insightful into the spirit of Japanese gardening as the more expected overviews. Sunday Telegraph Until such time as you can make a trip to Japan. Her book is your window on Japan's greatest gardens. Scotsman This beautiful book leaves one itching to plan to experience these serene sights at first hand. World of Interiors The author is Helena Atlee, a fine explainer of foreign gardens' history and meaning who is known to many of you for her superb recent book on the gardens of Portugal. Her Gardens of Japan studies 28 of the most famous sites and features photographs taken by her husband Alex Ramsay, and a checklist of addresses, contacts and opening times in Kyoto and elsewhere. It will be invaluable for foreign visitors. -- Robin Lane fox Financial Times The perfect book for the first time garden visitor to Japan. House & Garden Need to spruce up your summer garden? Take inspiration from 'The Gardens of Japan' by Helena Atlee. Packed full of gordeous photographs by Alex Ramsay. Image Magazine (Eire) A gorgeous book. Sunday Telegraph For anyone who has been to Japan to look at gardens, this would be a lovely memento, and for anyone who is thinking of going, it would provide a tempting itinerary. Professional Gardener For garden visitors and armchair travellers. Irish Times
Number Of Pages: 136
Published: 1st April 2010
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 26.7 x 25.0 x 1.8
Weight (kg): 1.0
Edition Number: 1