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The role of gardens play a much more important role in Japan than here in the United States This is due primarily to the fact the Japanese garden embodies native values cultural beliefs and religious principles Perhaps this is why there is no one prototype for the Japanese garden just as there is no one native philosophy or aesthetic In this way similar to other forms of Japanese art landscape design is constantly evolving due to exposure to outside influences mainly Chinese that effect not only changing aesthetic tastes but also the values of patrons In observing a Japanese garden it is important to remember that the line between the garden and the landscape that surrounds it is not separate Instead the two are forever merged serving as the total embodiment of the one another Every aspect of the landscape is in itself a garden Also when observing the garden the visitor is not supposed to distinguish the garden from its architecture Gardens in Japan incorporate both natural and artificial elements therefor uniting nature and architecture into one entity Japanese gardens also express the ultimate connection between humankind and nature for these gardens are not only decorative but are a clear expression of Japanese culture Although this extremely close connection of the individual with nature the basic principle of Japanese gardens has remained the constant throughout its history the ways in which this principle has come to be expressed has undergone many great changes Perhaps the most notable occurred in the very distinct periods in Japanese history that popularized unique forms of garden styleHeian 781-1185 and the Kamakura 1186-1393 Resulting from these two golden ages of Japanese history came the stroll garden from the former period and the Zen garden from the later As we shall see the composition of these gardens where remarkably effected by the norms of architecture and the ideals of popular religion in these eras Therefor in understanding each garden style
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