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In the heart of the Côte d’Azur, there is a corner that will transport you to the Far East. Because here, in Avenue Princesse Grace, stands the Japanese Garden of Monte Carlo, a green space of 7,000 square metres where you will feel that you are walking in the Japanese countryside.
The garden consists of a hill, a waterfall, a stream, islands and a wide variety of plants and trees such as olive trees, cherry trees, azaleas and camellias, strategically distributed and fully balanced to create very specific landscapes and ensure that the visitor experiences peace and harmony. It is just like being inside a painting, isn’t it? Monegasques ironically say that the only thing missing from the picture is fog.
The garden was designed by the Japanese landscape architect Yasuo Beppu and was blessed by a Shinto priest. It is a work that brings together stone, water and flora in a sublime whole. Even the mosaics, wooden doors, Tea House and other details were brought from Japan. But all you can see and admire are just details if you do not know about certain aspects of Japanese civilization.
Because these spaces, as well as expressing beauty, evoke certain spiritual values that attempt to interpret nature, but never copy it. To understand them, we have to go back 1,300 years.
In the beginning, there was the Paradise Garden, later the Zen Garden, after the Tea Garden, devoted to the ritual of the tea ceremony, and finally, an intelligent combination of all of these that resulted in the Walking Garden, offering different landscapes as you walk around.
Japanese gardens always have certain features, such as a main gate (Ahô-mon), a stone fountain (Fusen-Ishi), a lake (Iké), always containing goldfish, islands (Shima), a waterfall (Taki), a red bridge (Taïkobashi) and many others. Each one symbolises something in particular. For example, the bridge is red because it is the colour of happiness; and its narrowness represents the difficulty in reaching the divine islands.
As you can see, this Japanese Garden is a true oasis in Monaco, which often goes unnoticed by tourists rushing about. Make the most of it, take a long, leisurely stroll and explore its unique spots. Take some photos and later try to convince yourself that you are on the Mediterranean.