- Waterfall: Buddhists find the natural process of water springing from a mountain source, gathering strength as it rushes down a valley, eventually dissipating calmly into the sea to be a metaphor for human existence; birth, growth, death and rebirth.
- Pond: Represents the sea – everything flows into the pond, calming the restlessness of life. Rocks in the pond represent islands.
- Creek: Water represents life. The way water moves through a landscape illustrates the paths of least resistance such as the tendency of how one lives their life.
- Bridges: The word “bridge” (hashi 階), also a homonym with the word for “edge”, are seen as linking two edges; opposite shores of a river or symbolically “this world” and the “after world”. The plank bridge is built low to the ground in order to give viewers a feeling of being close to the surrounding field scenes.
- Stone Lanterns: The stone lanterns (ishi-dōrō 石灯籠) in the gardens give a very artistic look to the scenery and show the man-made effect they have on the gardens.
- Pine Trees: Image of eternity, longevity, representing permanence, in contrast to the ever changing aspects. nature.
- Forest: The inclining path depicts a change of scenery with the forest scene on the left and the tree covered hill ahead. Forest (mori) is similar to the word “moru” which means “to guard and protect.”
- Tea Gardens: In the 1500s tea gardens were constructed to be understated and naturalistic. A small humble tea room was made for the tea ceremony (Chanoyu 茶の湯). The man-made water laver (tsukubai つくばい) was used to purify oneself before entering the tea room. All troubles and concerns were to be left outside.
- Enclosure & Entry: An enclosure is a frame to control how the garden will be viewed. It allows for the garden to be viewed as an independent work of art. Enclosure necessitates entries. Both physical and spiritual gates connect the garden to the outside world and divide it into selections of changing view. Physically, wooden gates are used, but more likely, scenery change is marked by a bend or rise in a path or another ephemeral gate.
- Stone Garden (karesansui 枯山水): The use of white sand/rock depicts the sign of purification. Many shrines use white sand to create “ma 間” (space) which is used to represent “mu” (nothingness), a teaching of Zen Buddhism. The white stones represent the ocean; the raked patterns, the waves; and the rocks, the mountains and islands.
The Gardens were co-designed by the cities of Kelowna and Kasugai. Building funds were raised through the efforts of both the City of Kelowna and the Kelowna-Kasugai Sister City Association. In 1983, in Kasugai, Japan “Kelowna Boulevard”, was dedicated to the growing friendship. The following year a site behind Kelowna City Hall was dedicated to link the citizens of Kelowna and Kasugai. That site is now known as Kasugai Gardens. Completed in 1987, the Gardens symbolize the friendship between the cities, providing residents and visitors with a pleasant and relaxing environment for quiet reflection.
Garden information provided by Caroline Ivey, Parks Community Coordinator for City of Kelowna.