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The rock garden of IZUMO

The rock garden of IZUMO
-presented by the garden artist HORIE Yoshin

 From “Japanese gardens” by Lafcadio Hearn

No effort to create an impossible or purely ideal landscape is made in the Japanese garden. 

    Its artistic purpose is to copy faithfully the attractions of a veritable landscape, and to convey the real impression that a real landscape communicates.

    It is therefore at once a picture and a poem; perhaps even more a poem than a picture.


About Lafcadio Hearn

Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo) was born in 1850 in Lefkada island of the West part of Greece. His father Charles, an Irishman, was a military surgeon. His mother Rosa was from the Greek island of Kythira. As Ireland was not an independent nation at the time, Hearn had British nationality.

    Later, while living in New Orleans, he encountered Japanese culture at an Expo, then read the English translation of “Kojiki(Records of Ancient Matters)” in New York, that brought him to stay in Japan in April 1890. 

    In August of the same year, he became a high school English teacher in Matsue city, Shimane Prefecture. Later, in 1896, he married Koizumi Setsu, a daughter of a samurai in Matsue clan and became a Japanese citizen. He had three sons and a daughter. 

As a writer, he published thirty Japanology books, especially travelogues and folklore.

    He died of heart attack in 1904 at the age of fifty-four.


The natural way as it is 


Bon Koizumi

 (The great-grand child of Lafcadio Hearn/

the professor emeritus of the University of Shimane)

Here are two English translations of Matsuo Basho-the master of Haiku


①“Old pond—a frog jumping in—sound of water”

② “Old pond—frogs jumping in—sound of water” 


    The first one is a typical image of Japanese reader; a tranquil scene of only one frog jumps in a small calm pond. On the other hand, the second one is the translation by Lafcadio Hearn (Koizumi Yakumo) who had introduced this Haiku to rest of the world. 

    An interesting difference between them is in “a frog” and “frogs”. He praised the Japanese and said “They really know how to live with nature happily because Japanese people even take a creature like frogs as objects of art. This fact represents the healthiest and happiest attitude toward Nature.” even though, the passage of  singular and plural form makes differences. However, if you visit the lotus pond of the residence of Negishi family’s he used to live in Matsue, you will know many frogs are jumping and diving into it and kicking water lively.

    Hearn came to Japan in 1890, staying in Matsue for one year and three months, had fascinated in the province of Izumo where something spiritual reside in natural object itself. Especially he really loved the garden of Negishi family he used to stay for half a year in Matsue. He said “The Japanese really know the beauty of rocks and can find something spiritual in trees. “And yet in a certain sense it strikes one as being much closer to cosmic truth than the old Western orthodox notion of trees as “things created for the use of man. It is inborn in the Japanese; the soul of the race comprehends Nature infinitely better than we do, at least in her visible forms.”

    The reason he showed a great deal of empathy to the spirituality resides in Japanese gardens is probably because both his fatherland of Ireland and his motherland of Greek also had believed in animism in ancient time. 

    San-in/San-yo region is famous for its unique and variety styles of gardens. Why don’t you accept the way of nature as it is to put yourself into tranquil Japanese gardens? I believe Sekisho Garden in a village of southern Izumo provides you mindful time of nature.


Photo gallery


Japanese gardens; Are they natural, or artificial? 

It’s somewhere in between, maybe. 

This garden gives you time to think about it.


About HORIE Yoshin / Born in 1934

Zen garden artist / Taoist woodchopper / the man who have devoted his life to plant trees and flowers.

Quotes: “Life is very short. But rocks, water and trees will keep telling us forever.”

“You’re getting it wrong way if you think we are the one who are watching these rocks, waters or trees. They’re also watching us silently.”


Business day calendar




From Tokyo

Haneda-Izumo (80min by airplane) -JR Shinji sta. (10min by taxi)-JR Kisuki sta.(40m)-taxi-Sekisho-Teien (20min by taxi)


From Kansai

OCAT/UMEDA-JR Shinji Sta. (3.5-4H by highway bus “Kunibiki”-JR Kisuki Sta. (40min by train of Kisuki Line)-Sekisho-Teien (20min by taxi)


From Hiroshima

JR Hiroshima(2H)-KisukiKosoku(2.5~3H by highway bus “Grand Arrow”)-Sekisho-Teien (20min by taxi)



The rock garden of IZUMO

472 Hirata,Kisuki-cho,Unnan-city,Shimane,Japan.



The Entry fee is ¥600. (age13-17¥350. 6-12¥250)

All major credit cards are accepted.

Cha Kaiseki Ryori (Traditional Japanese full course with Matcha) ¥10,000 per 1 person.

In addition to this, Japanese set meals are prepared.(1200-3800yen)

(Reservations required)

  • 奥出雲 石照庭園
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