Auspicious plants in Japanese garden design

A lot of gardening companies have their signature style, may it be the use of a special plant combination or the use of special materials.

My company is using a lot of different materials and plants, and while Mr. Hayano has his very own style, he often becomes a design-chamaeleon to fit the customer’s preferences.

However, there is one thing which can be seen as a signature of our design company Niwashyu: guarding the kimon or urakimon!

What is this? You might ask..

Kimon and urakimon are unlucky directions in connection to Japanese Feng Shui (fuusui – wind-water) or Geomancy if you want to call it like that. The system was adopted in the Nara period from China and remodeled to meet the Japanese necessities.
The city of Kyoto, as well as Nara, was built using this system.

There are some different explanations why these two directions, North-East kimon, South-West urakimon, are unlucky, but one very logic is, that bad things used to come from here. Invasive forces from the North and typhoons and tsunami from the South.

To protect whole cities against evil spirits coming from there, usually, temples or shrines where built in these directions.
Do you know that even Edo (now Tokyo) copied this model and a small version of Kyoto was built within the city? You can find out more about Tokyo’s kimon and guardian temple/shrine by visiting our sister-site Tokyo Garden Tours.

Hiiragi

In gardens then, special plants were planted in these directions: hiiragi (Osmanthus heterophyllus) in the North-East and nanten (Nandina domestica) in the North-East and South-West.

Hiiragi is a plant known for its spiky appearance and is perfect to guard-of oni (Japanese demons) approaching from kimon.
Nanten’s flower language is “avert misfortune” and therefore good in both directions.

My company’s signature now is using Nanten at the kimon and urakimon to guard our customer’s properties!
 

 


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