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Pope Francis

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Pope Francis

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Where to find peace and quiet in the center of bustling Rome

2015-07-19

A small peace of Asia has seemingly been translated in Rome, in the form of trees, water, flowers, and tranquility. 

It may seem like Japan, but this garden is actually located in the center of Rome at the Institute of Japanese Culture. It was designed 50 years ago by Ken Nakajima, a famous Japanese garden designer who was the first to build this type of garden in Italy.

The garden has every element associated with traditional Japanese culture: a road, a pond, a waterfall, rocks, a bridge, and a stone lamp.

AYA WANATABE
Institute of Japanese Culture, Rome
"It is made for enjoyment and for taking walks inside. One can observe the flowers and relax in peace. It encourages a spirit of contemplation.”

The garden isn't particularly big and can be seen in just a few minutes. But it's still possible to become immersed in the space if one leaves their Western mindset at the door and slowly takes in the surroundings.

AYA WANATABE
Institute of Japanese Culture, Rome
"Besides the visual aspect, the visitor will also be surprised by what can't be seen, the philosophical and introspective aspect of the visit. During guided visits, we explain diverse concepts of Japanese etiquette for enjoying the experience more.”

These concepts include topics like the fleeting nature of human existence, explained through the ephemeral nature of cherry blossoms. Or how a Japanese stone lantern can offer a different kind of light. These ideas show that human existence is just one stage that our souls travel through.

The Institute of Japanese Culture also hosts an traditional Japanese crafts exhibition. It includes small toys decorated by artists and people from all over the world. They memorialize the tsunami that devastated Fukushima four years ago.


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