Kyoto/Bibliography/ Kyoto Gardens and Westernization

Takakuwa, G. (1970) Invitation to Japanese Gardens.

Japan: Charles E.Tuttle Company, Inc.


From the Meiji Period to the Present (1868-   )

“Since the tradition of Japanese gardens was felt so very strong in Kyoto and due in part to the high quality of natural scenery in and around the city, Kyoto was fortunately not greatly affected by this trend toward Westernization. Thus there was little room for the Western style of garden. After the victory of the Sino-Japanese War many millionaires as well as peers constructed villas in the area of Nanzen-ji and Okazaki in Kyoto. Murin-an villa, belonging to Yamagata Aritomo (1838-1922), is one of the earliest gardens that was constructed. At about the same time the construction of a large pond garden was begun (in the 28th year of the Emperor Meiji, 1895) within the grounds of Heian Shrine. This was completed in the early Taisho era.” (p.131)


This book introduces various aspects of the Japanese gardens in different periods of time. Comparisons of gardens with several examples from different periods are shown, which certainly would help us to have a better understanding of gardens in Kyoto from different time periods. Momoyama period was the time where the gardens are believed to be most gorgeous ones, but then the quality of these beautiful gardens started to decline during late Edo period. The passage above provides us an important piece of information on the preservation of culture in Kyoto – while western-style parks and buildings were built other cities like Tokyo in 1878 under the rule of Emperor Meiji, this trend did not affect Kyoto much. Therefore we need to do further research on the relationship between Kyoto and the westernization, and the time frame could particularly set in Meiji period, and then trace back to Edo period in order to find out what’s the reason behind that leads to the decline of quality of the gardens.

1 Comment on “Kyoto/Bibliography/ Kyoto Gardens and Westernization

  1. Other than historical shrines and temples, Kyoto is also known for its gardens. As one of the oldest cities in Japan, it is of no doubt that excellent preservation works had been done to allow the existence of these buildings and landscapes until today. It would be interesting to look into how Westernisation has played a part or affected the preservation culture of Kyoto.

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