The Japanese Garden

The art of creating Japanese and Chinese gardens is a unique phenomenon in the treasury of world culture. The cradle of this distinctive art is China, where the Japanese adopted it in the 8th century.
Even today, the style of these gardens is very popular as it brings peace, quiet elegance, and a place to relax the mind and meditate in our hectic times.

The construction of The Japanese Garden in the Botanical Garden of the Capital City of Prague began in 1995 on an area of 0.67ha and it was opened to the public in 1997. The exposition consists of two parts. The first one presents a mountain landscape with a hut and a pond. The second, the collection section, collects plants from China and Japan. The basic elements of the garden are water, stone, and plants. The planting of the plants is not intended to impress with the exuberance of the flower colors, but to emphasize the elegance of the evergreens and the changeability of the scenery throughout the year.

Traditional elements were used in the construction of the Japanese garden. The stones on the tobi-ishi walkway protrude slightly above ground level so that people do not get their shoes dirty while walking. The stones are deliberately laid irregularly, as they are in nature. In a quiet corner, there is a traditional tall garden lamp, which in addition to its practical function, symbolizes 'the light of knowledge that scares away the clouds of ignorance'. The wooden tea hut provides a quiet place for rest or meditation and a magnificent view of the garden and the pond.

Individual plants also have their own symbolism in the tradition of Japanese gardens. For example, maples symbolize autumn or wisdom. In this garden, you can see one of the largest collections of Japanese maple cultivars in the Czech Republic. In contrast to them, there are plum trees, symbolizing new life, virtue, and girlish beauty. Pines represent eternal life and resilience, and peonies nobility, wealth, and power.

The exhibition of the Japanese Garden is also still evolving. In 2012, the pond and its surroundings were completely renovated. The shore of the pond was newly planted with a shaped pine tree, which the garden had cultivated in its facilities for about 20 years. In addition, more than 500 low azaleas and small perennials have newly adorned the display, adding to the peaceful, meditative atmosphere.

In autumn 2012, Mrs. Madeleine Albright planted a Thunberg pine (Pinus thunbergii) here. This nearly 2.5 meters tall and over 60 years old specimen was shaped in Japan. Its surroundings have been stylized by a stone sea from which stones symbolizing the islands of the Japanese archipelago float. The stone sea is complemented by interesting hemispherical trees to accentuate the beautiful shape of the 60-year-old pine tree.
Václav Havel also has a tree in the Japanese Garden, having planted the Japanese sakura Prunus serrulata ‘Amanogawa’ in 2009. In 2013, his wife Dagmar Havlová planted a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum).

The Japanese Garden has become a traditional venue for bonsai exhibitions. Every year in May, dozens of bonsai from the collection of our botanical garden and leading Czech and foreign growers are exhibited here.

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