|Stepping stone path Koto-in, Kyoto|
The name given to the Japanese tea garden, can be translated as ‘Dewy Path’ or 'Dewy Ground'. The word ‘Roji’ is derived from the Lotus sutra, one of the most important Buddhist texts, and occurs in the phrase, “Escaping from the fire stricken habitations of the Three Phenomenal Worlds they take their places on the dewy ground.” The Roji is often attributed to the Tea master Sen no Rikyu, as originally there was not always a specific garden attached to the Tea room, one simply entered straight into the room itself.
|Soto niwa or Outer garden at Daishin-in, Kyoto|
|The Waiting Arbour is where guests wait the call to enter the Tea room|
Essentially the roji is a path that leads from the outside, everyday, world to the Tea room. There are few rules laid down as to the exact configuration of a Tea garden, though one important principle stands out, and that is the garden should be as simple and unostentatious as possible. Unusually for the Japanese garden it is often prescribed that the roji should not contain any stone arrangements. It is often divided into two parts, the Inner (uchi niwa) and Outer gardens (soto niwa), separated by the Middle gate, chumon. In the Outer garden is found the machiai, or Waiting Arbour. The path itself is often composed of stepping stones, though in the outer garden there may be pavement style paths employed to some extent.
|A typical water basin arrangement with a stone lantern|
|where paths cross a large stepping stone is lain as a 'Turning Stone'|
|Garan semi provides a resting place to observe the garden scenery|
|The path leads to the tea house and fuji seki or Entry stone to step into the tea room|
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