Japanese Gardens: A Kyoto Introduction with Dr. Gavin Campbell

Japanese Gardens: A Kyoto Introduction with Dr. Gavin Campbell


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Few cultures have gardened with a greater passion than the Japanese. Explore more with a local Kyoto expert with an introduction to these fascinating spaces.

The attention to garden detail in Japan is unlike any other culture. Their spellbinding tranquility and their bold use of color, shape, and rhythm, gardens are one of Japan’s greatest artistic triumphs. And nowhere is there a greater concentration of these masterworks than Kyoto. This tour provides a basic overview of these mesmerizing spaces of emerald green and ancient stone.

We begin with the aesthetic principles that guide their construction and maintenance. These include “mono no aware” (the passing of all things), “wabi” (the beauty of austerity) “shakkei” (borrowed scenery), “miegakure” (hide and reveal) and “ma” (space or interval).

With these fundamental building blocks as our guide, we then delve deep into a number of representative gardens, including the Zen rock garden of Ryōanji, the tea garden of Kōtō-in, the warrior garden at Kinkakuji, and a Kyoto merchant’s townhouse garden. Each of these jewels illuminates basic design principles, while also showing how the needs of different clients gave rise to different gardening styles.

Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, this interactive seminar is led by Gavin Campbell, a Context expert who (normally) regularly guides our “Beyond Zen: Kyoto Garden Tour.”

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 32 reviews
91%
(29)
6%
(2)
3%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
J
John K (Washington, US)
You'll Learn a Lot About Unique and Beautiful Gardens

Dr. Campbell provides a thoughtful, well-organized and detailed description of how Japanese gardens are constructed and how to view them. Even if you've been to Kyoto you'll learn a lot, with beautiful pictures to boot.

S
Susan Tiffin (Sydney, AU)
Engaging introduction to Kyoto gardens

Gavin Campbell's presentations are always highly engaging, professional and thoroughly enjoyable. This seminar on Kyoto gardens was no different. The quality and structure of the materials, together with his extensive knowledge, provide a great insight into 'reading' Japanese gardens.

S
Sandy C. (New York, US)
Excellent program

Dr. Campbell's virtual tour of Kyoto gardens was well-presented and informative. Since I don't expect to go in person, I was glad to learn about Japanese gardens and see the ones he chose.

A
Alette (Amsterdam, NL)
Wonderful and very informative

Dr. Campbell gave a very well clear talk on Kyoto's garden history. Great visuals and excellent explanation. With this newly acquired knowledge I go and visit Japanese gardens in the Netherlands (to start with).

C
Catherine (Boulder, US)
Very helpful introduction to the gardens

I really appreciated Dr Campbell’s presentation. We are planning a trip to Kyoto for the gardens specifically and his talk was really helpful.

Customer Reviews

Based on 32 reviews
91%
(29)
6%
(2)
3%
(1)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
J
John K (Washington, US)
You'll Learn a Lot About Unique and Beautiful Gardens

Dr. Campbell provides a thoughtful, well-organized and detailed description of how Japanese gardens are constructed and how to view them. Even if you've been to Kyoto you'll learn a lot, with beautiful pictures to boot.

S
Susan Tiffin (Sydney, AU)
Engaging introduction to Kyoto gardens

Gavin Campbell's presentations are always highly engaging, professional and thoroughly enjoyable. This seminar on Kyoto gardens was no different. The quality and structure of the materials, together with his extensive knowledge, provide a great insight into 'reading' Japanese gardens.

S
Sandy C. (New York, US)
Excellent program

Dr. Campbell's virtual tour of Kyoto gardens was well-presented and informative. Since I don't expect to go in person, I was glad to learn about Japanese gardens and see the ones he chose.

A
Alette (Amsterdam, NL)
Wonderful and very informative

Dr. Campbell gave a very well clear talk on Kyoto's garden history. Great visuals and excellent explanation. With this newly acquired knowledge I go and visit Japanese gardens in the Netherlands (to start with).

C
Catherine (Boulder, US)
Very helpful introduction to the gardens

I really appreciated Dr Campbell’s presentation. We are planning a trip to Kyoto for the gardens specifically and his talk was really helpful.