Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Shioiri no Niwa (Garden with a tidal pond)

Let me introduce you to a unique type of Japanese garden in Shirotori.
We call it Shioiri Garden. “Shioiri” means “incoming tide" in English.
As you imagine from the word, “incoming tide,” the water in this pond depicts the incoming and outgoing ocean flows of Ise Bay.

The main concept of the garden is to portray the tides.
Ise Bay has been so prominent for people living in this region.

Please take a look at the wall in the background with white and grey checkered patterns.
It depicts some mountains in this central region such as Mt. Ontake or the Kiso Mountains.
With that being said, you can see how Shioiri Garden incorporates yet another expression of nature from our region.

It looks very modern though.
Modern technology has made this garden so unique, that it won the Urban Landscape prize from the city of Nagoya 24 years ago.

There are three points I’d like to introduce you to so that you will be able to enjoy the garden.

First, the water is controlled by a pump to reproduce the movement of Ise Bay's ocean tide.
If you stay here, you will be able to see the tide slowly coming in and out every 30 minutes.

Second, a winding titanium pipe hovering on the surface of the water, is eye catching.
This modern sculpture expresses the waves reaching shore after hitting rough rocks.

Lastly, there you can see some fountain spouts along the pipes.
They emit water to fill the pond like that of a tide gradually coming in, which is mesmerizing to watch.

Aside from these three elements, the garden designer also arranged a pair of rocks, one large and one small, in the pond to give you the image of the pair of sacred rocks at the shore near  Ise Grand Shrine in Mie Prefecture.

For some people, they are reluctant to call Shioiri Garden a Japanese garden.

However, considering Japanese strolling gardens were very much appreciated by daimyo; I’m sure they would have enjoyed a unique spot in which they could entertain their important guests.

I personally love the challenging idea of Shioiri Garden.
It is definitely a Japanese garden of this century.

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