The Ike-no-Niwa of the Imperial Palace at Kioto.

Ike-no-Niwa, Imperial, Palace, Kioto, Mikado, Garden, Kusakabe Kimbei, Josiah Conder, landscape,
Ike-no-Niwa, Imperial Palace, Kioto (The Mikado’s Garden) Photo: Kusakabe Kimbei c. 1890.



by Josiah Conder

The Ike-no-Niwa, or “Garden of the Lake,” in the grounds of the Imperial Palace at Kioto, may be taken as a characteristic though somewhat imperfect example of a Japanese lake-garden.

As the surrounding areas partake of the nature of broad gravelled approaches to the different detached buildings of the palace, the expanse of water lacks the charming and natural environment of verdant hills which distinguishes other gardens of this class.

A few boulders, evergreen bushes, and trees fringe the stone-faced banks on the palace side, and prettily carved stone and wooden bridges connect the lake-islets with the shores. These islands abound in curious rocks, and dwarf pine trees trained out over the surface of the water: other handsome scoriated rock masses are scattered in the shallows of the lake.

In the background of the view given in Plate VII. may be seen the handsome curved roof of one of the Imperial buildings, remarkable, like the gardens surrounding them, for their chaste simplicity as compared with the more elaborate and fantastic style which characterises the old castle palaces of the Daimios.

This is but a small portion of the extensive grounds surrounding the ancient Palace at Kioto, which consists of several separate blocks, each having its independent garden in varied style.

Source: Supplement to Landscape gardening in Japan by Josiah Conder (1852-1920); Kengo Ogawa. Tokio: Kelly and Walsh, 1893.

red, sun, Japan, Mon, Nisshōki, Hinomaru

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