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One of the pleasures of visiting Kyoto is to wander around narrow streets
lined with machiya, the traditional townhouses of the merchant class. Tucked
away inside each of these unusually long, narrow dwellings is a hidden oasis: a
small garden known as the tsuboniwa. Following on from Landscapes for Small
Spaces and The Hidden Gardens of Kyoto , the third book by garden enthusiast
and photographer Katsuhiko Mizuno focuses on these miniature courtyard gardens
of the machiya.
A wide variety of gardens are beautifully photographed and presented: from
those in shops, inns, restaurants, and tearooms, to gardens in many private
homes. A total of 150 color images from fifty-two houses showcase the flawless
Kyoto aesthetic and use of limited space. Surrounding architectural features,
such as shoji sliding doors, reed blinds, beams, railings, and walkways are
Each photograph is accompanied by analytical and insightful comments from the
author, making this a useful reference book for all garden lovers, as well as a
visual feast for anyone with an interest in traditional Japanese design.