Kyoto is a garden lover’s paradise. It’s in Kyoto that I discovered the beauty and the pleasure of viewing these incredible gardens.  Some are very simple, like the “Karesansui” or Zen gardens (also called dry landscape gardens) while other are simple and utilitarian, like the Tea gardens (Chaniwa). Then there are the incredible and extravagant Strolling gardens of the emperors and other shogun, with ponds, islands and artificial hills that could be enjoyed from a variety of viewpoints along a circular trail. And then there are the minimalist “Tsuboniwa” or small courtyard  gardens, still quite popular around private houses. 

Kyoto is the best place in all of Japan to discover the wonders of the Japanese gardens. Here are a few of my favorite ones.