In their rocks and plants, empty spaces and intimate details-Kyoto's gardens manifest a unique ability to provoke thought and delight in equal measure. These carried landscapes meld the sensuality of nature with the disciplines of cosmology, poetry and meditation. Japanese aristocrats created these gardens to display t just wealth and power, but cultural sensitivity and an appreciation for transcendent beauty. A class of professional gardeners eventually emerged, transforming Japanese landscape design into formalized art. Today, Kyoto's gardens display an ermous range of forms-from rock gardens of extreme minimalism and subtle hues, to stroll gardens of luscious proportions and vibrant colours.
Judith Clancy has lived in Kyoto for more than 40 years, writing and teaching about Japanese culture. Her first publication, Naturescapes, was a tribute to her Ikebana teacher, Tamura Suiko, who, through the art of flower arrangement, instilled a deep and subtle appreciation of Japanese aesthetics and character. Exploring Kyoto: On Foot in the Ancient Capital went beyond the usual guidebook. Its 30 detailed walks through Kyoto reveal temples, shrines and folklore to visitors while taking them on a journey through centuries of Japan's traditional architecture and culture. Kyoto Machiya Restaurant Guide relays the culinary delights within Kyoto's renovated townhouses, and in Kyoto: City of Zen, Clancy and Simmons introduce viewers to Japan's ancient capital. Clancy lives in a 120-year-old converted weaving studio in Nishijin, the weaving and dyeing district of Kyoto. Visit her website at kyotoworkshops.com. Ben Simmons is a longtime Japan resident whose photos have appeared in books, magazines, and exhibitions worldwide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the United Nations. He holds an MFA from the University of Florida. Some of his other book projects are Tokyo Megacity and Traditional Japanese Architecture: An Exploration of Elements and Forms, both published by Tuttle.