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Visions of Paradise - The Japanese Garden in the UK

12 August - 27 September 2010

The Embassy of Japan
101-104 Piccadilly, London W1J 7JT
Open weekdays 09:30 - 17:30, closed weekends
Admission is free, but photo ID is necessary to gain entry to the Embassy.



The Roof Garden at the School of Oriental and

African Studies (SOAS). Photo by Malcolm Raggett

The popularity of the Japanese garden started during the late 1800s as British diplomats and business people went to Japan following the Meiji restoration. When they returned to the UK, some built gardens that represented what they could remember, some hired Japanese gardeners to come over and build a garden. In 1891, Josiah Conder, an English Architect, published the book 'Flowers of Japan, and the Art of Floral Arrangement' then, in 1883 'Landscape Gardening in Japan'. Conder's books became very popular and influential and interest in Japanese gardens reached a peak early in the 20th Century.

Mounted by the Japanese Garden Society, this exhibition, through images and words will tell the story of Japanese gardens and how the British have used what they have seen in Japan as inspiration to build Japanese-style gardens here. Covering the history and development of Japanese gardens in the UK, the exhibition will focus on the gardens of Japan, and the development of the Japanese garden in the UK.

Creating a 'Japanese style garden' raises many interesting questions, not least whether it is even possible to create a Japanese garden outside of its geographical and cultural origins. There are significant differences between Japan and the UK that one must bear in mind when creating a Japanese-style garden here: climate, architecture, landscape, plant material to name a few. All of these affect the interpretation of Japanese ideas.


Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to learn more about a number of important gardens both in Japan and the UK. There will also be a map showing the locations of the 28 gardens in the UK that are open to the public - can you visit them all?!

The Japanese Garden Society, founded in 1993, now has some 700 members. Regular meetings, lectures and garden visits are held throughout the country and the Society runs regular visits to Japan.

For further information contact the JGS Secretary on 0845 094458 or via www.jgs.org.uk

Cottered, Hertfordshire, Photo by Graham Bowyer.