Japanese gardens in the US

I am a fan of Japanese gardens, and I wanted to keep track of the ones I had visited, along with notes about what makes each one special or particularly interesting. All the images are my own.

There are many excellent summaries of Japanese gardens, including their history, design elements, and principle differences from Western gardens. I defer to this literature for that broad background, and strongly recommend the books of Marc Peter Keane for the new reader.

I am indebted to the authors of the wikipedia list of Japanese gardens in the United States, but I differ somewhat in the categorization of the gardens here. At the risk of appearing peevish, I distinguish between Japanese gardens proper and gardens with Japanese elements. I do not mean to denigrate the latter category, but I do want to emphasize that Japanese gardens have a fundamentally different aesthetic than Western gardens, and adding some Japanese elements to a fundamentally Western garden plan does not produce a “Japanese” garden. I hope this distinction is instructive to those who want to visit and learn about Japanese gardens, rather than denigrating to those who build and maintain gardens.

Japanese gardens

See first an up-to-date summary map showing where I’ve visited and how I’m tiering gardens.

California, San Francisco, Japanese Tea Garden

This one is excellent. Include notes from wiki and the book I got.

Image 1 Image 2

Florida, Delray Beach, Morikami

This one is great. Notes from wiki. Note the history about the pineapple plantation.

Massachusetts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Tenshin-En

Probably easy to find some notes. Do I have any pictures?

Massachusetts, Chappaquiddick, Mytoi

Note the history about hurricanes and reconstruction.

Texas, Fredericksburg, National Museum of the Pacific War

Note the reconstruction of Nimitz’s study.

Virginia, Richmond, Maymont

Was this one designed by a Japanese gardener? Impressive if not.

Gardens with Japanese elements

California, San Jose, Japanese Friendship Garden

Dry water feature.

Image 1

Maryland, Wheaton, Brookside Garden

Try to remember what I can from that sign, about the guy who liked the idea of Japanese gardens and pulled in some random elements.