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Culture Hidden Gardens of Japan 日本の秘庭

A photographic overview over the hidden gardens of Japan

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The book explores relatively unseen gardens throughout Japan, those that have been overlooked by mass tourism and retain their original calm. Occasionally these gardens are not as famous as their cousins for different reasons: the temple priest is not interested in their sanctuary becoming a tourist attraction, or their location does not permit large tour buses. Certain gardens are maintained by each city, first and foremost for their taxpaying citizens, and therefore list them as "parks" rather than "Japanese gardens" which keeps them off tourist itineraries. Each garden has expanded captions written in both English and Japanese as well as google maps short links with exact locations.

About the author:


John Lander is a freelance photographer based in Japan with a passion for Japanese gardens, hot springs, and festivals. He has been resident in Japan for more than thirty years, based in Tokyo and near Kamakura. Since Kyoto is the world capital of gardening, he spends several months every year in Kyoto as well.


Latest reviews

  • Stunning photography
  • Concise bilingual descriptions
  • Not really a con: not too much information on some locations
This is a small but wonderful compendium of lesser-known Japanese gardens, many of which are still off the beaten tracks of mass tourism. The book comprises three parts: gardens in the Tokyo area, in Kyoto and surroundings as well as gardens in other parts of Japan. The photography is superb.

Each garden is presented on two pages, with a short description in English and Japanese as well as one or two photos that capture the essence of each location.

Although a resident of Kanto I have to admit that Mr Lander's book introduces a lot of gardens I haven't visited yet (which are now on my shortlist). The information on some locations is a bit scarce but elicits the desire to further delve into their history.

A highly recommended book for everyone fascinated by the beauty and serenity of Japanese gardens.
2 members found this helpful.
Looks like it is available from Amazon in the US for $40. It also includes Google Maps short-links and QR codes that provide the exact location of each garden or park. Looks pretty interesting, I may pickup a copy.
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Additional information

John Lander
IBC Publishing
Year of publication
September 28, 2017
Number of pages
¥ 1,944

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