2019 NO.26

ニッポンみやげSouvenirs of Japan


Karesansui Kit
(Japanese Dry Landscapes Kit)

Text: Ishizuka Tokie; Photo/Cooperation: Midori-ya‐Nikogusa

Karesansui is a landscaping style that employs stones and sand to evoke scenes of hills and water. It has been developed under the influence of Zen, a Buddhist sect, since the Muromachi period (late 14th through 16th centuries). If you have ever seen and been affected by Karesansui, this compact and easy-to-use kit may be an ideal souvenir purchase, enabling you to enjoy creating your own miniature Karesansui at home.

Placement of rocks in your composition can bring to mind islands in the sea or mountains, allowing you the freedom to give shape to what you are feeling. In Karesansui design, expressions of water play an important role. This is manifested through patterns in the sand. There are many pattern possibilities; for example, surrounding rocks and curved lines to suggest certain types of water flow, such as that of a river.

In the paulownia (hardwood) tray, you can place sand and stones and use a rake to create patterns which will take your mind back to the stillness and the emotions that you experienced when visiting a Zen temple. From the patterns thus created, you can realize ocean waves or the flow of a river. We invite you to experience a vast and profound spiritual world encapsulated in a compact space typical of the Japanese culture of miniaturization.