The Japanese garden represents a different approach to nature compared to the typical western garden .Since ancient times the Japanese garden has reflected the natural landscape being spiritual in character represented by the Torii in the Shinto religion and the dry stone gardens of the Zen Buddhists. Japanese gardens have evolved over the past 1300 years, the first recorded garden was in the year 612 ,five years after the first delegation was sent to mainland China and headed by Ono-No-Imoko who was sent to learn as much as possible as to what constituted a civilized society. Ono-No-Imoko would have seen under construction the enormous landscaped park commissioned by the emperor Sui Tang Ti near the then capital Lo Yang ,the circumference of the park was seventy five miles and included extensive use of water and architectural features ,flora which included forests of full grown trees of every variety were collected from across the land and brought to the park, also all manner of birds and fishes were collected by imperial edict Ono-No-Imoko was probably the first Japanese to see landscaped architecture in practice he also brought the art of ikebana back from China at a later date . During the Nara period (646-794) members of the Japanese nobility commissioned Chinese style lake gardens for the grounds of their palaces and villas and though many where created none now exist, however there are references to these gardens in Japanese ar t ,literature and poetry ,The main characteristics were the use of hills, lakes or ponds, islands, bridges and the planting of trees and shrubs, all aspects now found in Japanese gardens. The gardens are strongly influenced by the Shinto and Zen Buddhist religions, Shinto being the original religion and Buddhism coming from China and Korea in the seventh century, the gardens where designed to restore the inner calm, peace of mind and spirit, The role of Shintoism being based on the veneration of nature, spirits and ancestors and is apparent in the earliest mentioned gardens.

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