A Japanese Garden?

Unintentional but beautiful
The western seaboard of the Noto Peninsula facing the Japan Sea is rugged.  The weather too can be rough and stormy.  In complete contrast, the eastern coastline of the peninsula faces water that resembles a lake.  This is especially true of those sections edging the rim of Nanao Bay.  But what of the interior of this long narrow peninsular.

Taking Route 37 from the east the road is flanked by deeply forested hills and mountains on either side and the only communities are rural hamlets.  Shallow stepped paddies and farmhouses fashion and accentuate the rural character of the route over which a pastoral calm has settled.

The road swings to the left and to the right like a flat rollercoaster but all is so tranquil the ride resembles a session of meditation more than any theme park thrill.  And then, completely unexpectedly, a quarry comes into view.  What’s this?  Of course it is not a “Japanese garden” but framed by the camera it could so easily be taken as one.

Small chipped stones form a perfect heap.  It is lower but easily as good as those at the Komowake Ikazuchi Shrine in Kyoto.  Are those misty profiles of mountains in the background?  A piece of borrowed landscape?  There was no intention for it to be so.  There was no will to create a “garden”.  Nevertheless, this dry stone landscape has the power to delight the eye and stimulate the mind.

Further along Route 37 a small hospitality station sports a shop and conveniences.  A cherished cat with a cute collar stands guard.  Welcome to Shunran no Sato, the Boat Orchid village.

All too soon the road is out of the forests.  Although having reached the western edge of the peninsula and the civilisation that is Wajima, remembered scenes of idilic beauty still float before the eyes with a dreamlike quality.  Was there really a Japanese garden in the mountains?  I must go back sometime just to make sure.  Fortunately such an excursion would never be the same.  It would be a new experience.

Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright

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