|Distant islands with pines. Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto|
|Mt Horai with Turtle and Crane islands, Ryogen-in, Kyoto|
These blessed isles, P'eng-lai, Ying-chou, Fang-hu, Yuan-ch'iao and Tai-yu, were the home of the Immortals. The islands were supported on the backs of giant turtles, and the virtuous were transported out to the heavenly isles on the backs of cranes. In an encounter with a giant, two of the original isles were lost, leaving a more manageable number for garden builders to incorporate into their schemes ever since!
|Moss covered island, Saiho-ji, Kyoto|
In the Sakuteiki 作庭記, 'Record of Garden Making, complied by Tachibana Toshitsuna in mid to late 11th century Japan are listed several types of island according to their reference to the natural landscape. Among the island styles suitable for gardens are:
Isojima (磯島, 磯嶋 'Rocky Shore Isle) which is characterised by many stones and planted with pines.
Kasumigata (霞形 'Mist style') a thin trailing island composed of gravel or sand without planting.
Katanagare (片流 'Slender stream'): A slender meandering island.
Morijima (森島, 杜嶋 'Forest isle') A flat island planted with pines.
Nojima (野嶋 'Meadow isle') A low lying island planted with wild grasses and moss with a scattering of low stones.
Suhamagata (洲浜形 'Cove beach style') A rugged island with sandy beaches and windswept pines.
Yamajima (山嶋 'Mountain isle') A steeply rising island with tall rocks set about the base and covered by dense evergreen planting.
The presence of the Isles in the garden is a reminder of the function of the garden which is to represent space in a form separate and qualitatively distinct to that of the everyday world. The garden being derived from the notion of sacred or paradisal space as well as drawing on natural landscape features.