Japanese Garden Designs

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Enhance The Appeal Of A Beautiful Garden With Japanese Garden Lanterns


Japanese garden lanterns are important elements of Japanese Gardens. They were introduced to Japan along with Buddhism in the 6th century. The stone lantern also known, as ishi-doro is the most common lantern types that graces gardens, temples and shrines all over Japan. The stone lanterns comes in different sizes with a hollow upper part where lamps or candles or electric lights are lighted on days of special importance to the Japanese.

The stone lanterns were initially used in the tea gardens to guide guests through the gardens to the tea houses were the tea ceremonies were traditionally held. Though the lanterns are mainly used for decoration they also retain their function of lighting up. The Japanese garden lantern serves as an important focal point in Japanese gardens enhancing specific aspects of the garden like a waterfall or a stream or by the side of a walkway. Stone is most favored material for lanterns as it is natural and yet strong like nature itself. No other material comes close to stone in its natural beauty and charm when sculpted. The timelessness and the distinction of a stone lantern can't be matched.

In Nara, you will find a fine example of 2000 beautifully sculpted stone lanterns lining the way to the Kasuga Shrine. This is one of most famous examples of ishi-doro in Japan. The more widespread use of lanterns started after their introduction to the tea gardens used in traditional tea ceremonies. Now, these lanterns are no longer are confined to religious shrines and gardens and used more widely for decorative purposes.

Genuine Japanese lanterns are made from granite or syenite. These are sculpted in simple designs which stand the test of time. The granite is immune to seasons, the element of nature and even changes in society. More recently lanterns made of resins and concrete have started becoming popular, as granite lanterns are heavy and difficult to ship. The newer designs come in reds and greens but the original stone lanterns were in their natural gray color and made to blend with nature.

There are four basic designs to choose from in modern lanterns. There are the buried lanterns around 3 feet high, pedestal lanterns are 3 to 9 feet, small lanterns which are 20 inch or so tall and snow-viewing lanterns which are around 3-5 feet tall. If you would like to order Japanese garden lanterns you can order online too. There are many stores that sell traditional ishi-doro lanterns for use in your gardens. If you stone too heavy you can choose the ones made from resin or reconstituted stone, which are lighter and easier to handle.

Japanese garden lanterns provide a soft illumination to the garden using candles or oil lamps. They throw just enough light to show the way or draw attention to a small water body or stream or a bridge. You won't find the harsh lighting of modern day shopping malls in a Japanese garden. The serenity and the beauty of the garden are enhanced by the soft and gentle effect of the lanterns.

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