The Sone family’s landscape architecture business has been passing down traditional Japanese gardening techniques from one generation to the next since 1874. Over the years the business has known many names and incarnations, but the current Sone Zoen Co. Ltd was incorporated in 2006 and is led by CEO Masao Sone. Today the company is responsible for the care and upkeep of many famous temple gardens in Japan, including those of Tenryu-ji Temple and Tofuku-ji Temple in Kyoto. They also design and care for public parks and gardens for businesses, hotels, and private residences. In recent years they have designed gardens as far afield as Holland and Estonia. All the while, both at home and abroad, the family remains committed to passing on Japanese garden culture to future generations, creating gardens “with a taste of Zen” that nurture both heart and soul.
The Temple of the Heavenly Dragon, Tenryu-ji, is a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple nestled in the western mountains of the Arashiyama district in Kyoto. Constructed before the thirteenth century, the temple’s pond garden is one of the first in recorded Japanese history to use “borrowed scenery” (shakkei). “Borrowed scenery” incorporates distant landscape elements into the design in a way that visually enlarges the space. At Tenryu-ji this primarily takes the form of two mountains: Kameyama (Turtle Mountain) and Arashiyama (Storm Mountain), appropriated and integrated into the mix of vegetation, rocks and water.Read More