Japanese gardens, that is, gardens in traditional Japanese style, can be found at private homes, in neighborhood or city parks, and at historical landmarks such as Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and old castles.
Some of the Japanese gardens most famous in the West, and within Japan as well, are dry gardens or rock gardens, karesansui. The tradition of the Tea masters has produced highly refined Japanese gardens of quite another style, evoking rural simplicity. In Japanese culture, garden-making is a high art, intimately related to the linked arts of calligraphy and ink painting. Since the end of the 19th century, Japanese gardens have also been adapted to Western settings.
Japanese gardens were developed under the influences of the distinctive and stylized Chinese gardens. One of the great interest for the historical development of the Japanese garden, bonseki, bonsai and related arts is the c. 1300 Zen monk Kokan Shiren and his rhymeprose essay Rhymeprose on a Miniature Landscape Garden.
Karesansui Gardens or "dry landscape” gardens were influenced mainly by Zen Buddhism and can be found at Zen temples of meditation. Unlike other traditional gardens, there is no water present in Karesansui gardens. However, there is raked gravel or sand that simulates the feeling of water. The rocks/gravel used are chosen for their artistic shapes, and mosses as well as small shrubs are used to further garnish the Karesansui style. All in all, the rocks and moss are used to represent ponds, islands, boats, seas, rivers, and mountains in an abstract way. - Example: Ryouan-ji, temple in Kyoto, has a garden famous for representing this style. Daisen-in, created in 1513, is also particularly renowned.Tsukiyama Gardens
Tsukiyama Gardens often copy famous landscapes from China or Japan, and they commonly strive to make a smaller garden appear more spacious. This is accomplished by utilizing shrubs to block views of surrounding buildings, and the garden's structure usually tries to make onlookers focus on nearby mountains in the distance. By doing this, it seems that the garden has the mountains as part of its grounds. Ponds, streams, hills, stones, trees, flowers, bridges, and paths are also used frequently in this style.Chaniwa Gardens
Chaniwa Gardens are built for holding tea ceremonies. There is usually a tea house where the ceremonies occur, and the styles of both the hut and garden are based on the simple concepts of the sado. Usually, there are stepping stones leading to the tea house, stone lanterns, and stone basins (tsukubai) where guests purify themselves before a ceremony.
Furthermore, Japanese gardens might also fall into one of these styles:
Kanshoh-style gardens which are viewed from a residence.
Pond gardens, for viewing from a boat.
Strolling gardens (kaiyuu-shiki), for viewing a sequence of effects from a path which circumnavigates the garden. The 17th-century Katsura garden in Kyoto is a famous exemplar.
Other gardens also use similar rocks for decoration, some of which come from distant parts of Japan. In addition, bamboos and related plants, evergreens including Japanese black pine, and such deciduous trees as maples grow above a carpet of ferns and mosses.