Ponds, Waterfalls, and Bridges

"Shinshen" or "Eishu" Island, Jyoei- ji
The pond, or the ike, is a fundamental element in Japanese gardens. As a body of water, it represents the sea, lake, pond or river in nature. This is why they are not geometrical in appearance; in order to preserve the natural shapes, man- made ponds are asymmetrical. The bank of the pond is usually bordered by stones, as you can see in the image above. 
The passage of the water from the waterfall or stream to the pond symbolizes human existence: birth, growth and death. The sound and the appearance of the water change throughout this course from being a boisterous rushing of waves to a serene silence.  
Murin- an Garden, Kyoto
The bridge is both a functional and ornamental addition to the garden. In the picture to the right, the wooden bridge is left unpainted, as is common, and crosses over a stream.
Bridges that cross over sand are not functional. It is exclusively an ornamental device used to promote spiritual and intellectual meditation. As in the stone bridge to the right, the absence of a handrail underscores both the ornamental quality and the spiritual: there is no division between the visitor and his surroundings. 

The stone bridge is usually elevated on either ends by a pair of stones, or hashibasami- no- ishi. These are erected in order to emphasis the strength of the monolithic stones.

North- East Stone Garden of Daisen- in Monastery, Daitoku- ji

As you can see, bridges come in various forms and styles. The materials used vary from worked and unworked stones to different types of wood. In addition, when gardens have multiple bridges, repetition is avoided in order to produce variety in aesthetic experience. 
Shomyo- ji, Kanagawa

C O N T E N T S:
Ponds, Waterfalls, Wells, Bridges
Stepping Stones, Garden Paths
Stone Water Basins, Stone Lanterns
Garden Plants and Trees
Fences and Walls

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