On the fourth floor of a building in the heart of Tokyo, the Niagara Falls, the Rocky Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean come together on only 400 m²
|In this roof garden, Masuno summarises the characteristic landscapes of Canada, including the Rocky Mountains, in a karesansui, a Japanese rock garden. (Image: freeimages.com)
|The garden of designer Shunmyo Masuno is a symbol of the friendship between Japan and Canada. (Image: japantimes.co.jp)
|Three pyramid-shaped blocks reference the Rocky Mountains. (Image: japantimes.co.jp)
|The garden combines the grandeur of the Canadian landscape with refined Japanese detailing. (Image: japantimes.co.jp)
In 1991 the Canadian embassy in Tokyo opened its doors. Architect Raymond Moriyama designed the four-storey building. The building is a symbol of Canada's space and diversity, in a way that has meaning for the Japanese. The accompanying garden is by designer Shunmyo Masuno and intended as a place for contemplation, for visitors and for embassy staff - a symbol of friendship between the two countries. Masuno was the chief priest at a zen temple in Yokohama, and in Zen Buddhism the garden is not intended as a spatial experience - for example, to walk through - but as a means to meditate.
The formal entrance to the embassy and the garden are on the fourth floor. In this roof garden, Masuno summarizes the characteristic landscapes of Canada in a karesansui, a Japanese rock garden. Three pyramid-shaped blocks form the Rocky Mountains, two ponds represent the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Some rugged stones, the chopping marks clearly visible, symbolize the Canadian Shield, a geological area that roughly covers half of Canada. The canopy of neighboring parks is part of the garden due to the principle of shakkei or borrowed view.
Masuno translated the Canadian landscape into a karesansui to give meaning to a garden on the other side of the world. In this way he made a garden that is not only pleasing to the eye, but also a place of imagination. The garden combines the grandeur of the Canadian landscape with refined Japanese detailing.