2015 No.16


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Japan, a Place for Relaxation and Soothing Comfort


Key Words for the Japanese Way of Relaxation and Soothing Comfort

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It is natural to desire relaxation and peace of mind. What are some of the ways and places the Japanese have chosen to find it? Nature, beautiful scenery and culture hold the key to soothing comfort, offering concepts and practices handed down from generation to generation.

Satoyama refers to an ideal place where life is lived close to rice fields and vegetable gardens, where hills and forests are a part of everyday experience. People feel drawn to the relaxing scenery and the slower pace of this kind of country living.

This community of old houses, famous for their thatched roofs, is included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. (Shirakawa Village, Gifu Prefecture. Photo: Aflo)

Gardens (niwa) in Japan have developed in many forms since the 7th century. Each unique in its own way, they can best be admired at temples and traditional dwellings. It would be hard to find a more perfect place for meditative moments and tranquility.

The columns form the sides of a huge frame for the eyes to admire the garden. The view offers a picture of every changing season, from the green leaves of spring (top) to the heavy snowfall of winter (bottom). (Hosen-in Temple, Kyoto. Photo: Nakata Akira)