Updated: January 30, 2017
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3 Places You Can Feel Japanese Wabisabi Culture
Fans of Japanese aesthetics will be familiar with the concept of wabisabi. But just what is wabisabi? Here, we explain it in simple terms and tell you where you can find it in Japan!
What Is Wabisabi?
Wabisabi reminds us to embrace nature's cycle of life and death and appreciate the beauty inherent in imperfection. So, rather than think of something as old and decayed, we notice its cracks and anomalies and value its rustic beauty.
Besides celebrating imperfection, wabisabi also prompts us to be mindful of the melancholic beauty that are part and parcel of transient things. For example, being attuned that flowers will wither one day will help us appreciate their prettiness and impermanence better.
Where To Find Wabisabi In Japan
1) Benesse Art House Project (Kagawa Prefecture)
In Naoshima (yes, the island that holds the Setouchi Triennale modern art festival), you can visit the Benesse Art House Project. Here, you can get up close with abandoned houses that have been given a new lease of life with eclectic artistic installations. Soak in the dynamic air and let your worries melt away!
2) Gunkanjima (Nagasaki Prefecture)
Gunkanjima, otherwise known as Battleship Island, was initially a thriving mining town until the mine was abandoned in 1974. After the island was depopulated, the buildings fell into disrepair. These days, throngs of curious tourists visit this island so that they can take atmospheric photos of these dilapidated buildings. Not only that, even James Bond has left his mark on the island, as can be seen in the famous movie "Skyfall" (2013)!
3) Ryoanji (Kyoto Prefecture)
Ryoanji is the most classic landmark that evokes Zen vibes via its wabisabi. Composed of 15 stones that are scattered around in five different groups, it enables you to achieve a calm mind as you take in these strategically positioned stones. The rustic quality boosted by the wall behind the garden prompts you to admire the stained clay walls, their aesthetic appeal enhanced by the passage of time!
Do you now have a better idea of wabisabi? I hope that this article will open your mind up to how wabisabi is integrated into the lives of Japanese people!
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