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December 31, 2013 > A unique man and his garden

A unique man and his garden

By Hannah Yamakami

When people talk about Japanese gardens, Hayward doesnÕt normally come to mind. However, in 1976, former botanical grounds of Hayward High School were transformed into the Hayward Japanese Garden. Although not as well known as the Japanese Garden in San Francisco, it is just as beautiful and peaceful with its teahouse, bridges, ponds, and waterfall.

While it may be surprising that Hayward has its own Japanese Garden, what is even more surprising is the man who designed and created it. Kimio Kimura is not a conventional Japanese garden architect. After studying gardens and architecture under famous Japanese gardeners in Japan and earning a graduate degree in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkley, Kimura developed his own Japanese gardening style called ÒKimurascape.Ó

He describes it as Òphilosophical and compositional,Ó based on Òdynamic balance, where two components or elements are not the sameÓ yet Òcomplement each other to create a peace[ful] and tranquil composition.Ó Through experience, Kimura learned that traditional Japanese gardening is hard to teach Òbecause thereÕs no such thing as right from wrong,Ó rather on the basis of Òwhatever you think, youÕre right.Ó In Kimurascape, there is right from wrong, making it teachable.

Currently, Kimura, at age 81, is working on a book series about Kimurascape. While the entirety of the Hayward Japanese Garden is not based on this method, the garden is filled with elements of this unique gardening style. One example is a monument placed in the garden. The rock it sits on was made by Kimura himself. He explains, ÒIf I use natural rock, it already has shape and size and [thereÕs only] so much I can do. As IÕm an artist, only five percent of my talent can be used to set the stone.Ó He concludes, ÒIf you create your own, like Kimura style, you can have size and shape.Ó

Another Kimurascape element, seen repeatedly throughout the garden, lies in the shapes of the trees. In traditional Japanese plant shaping, the top of the tree is bigger Òbecause if you follow whatever the plant wants, the top gets more light; therefore when you get towards the bottom, it gets smaller.Ó However, in Kimura style gardens, the trees are shaped Òto accommodate light, therefore the top is smaller and as you get towards the bottom it gets bigger. And thereÕs a nice curvature to accommodate the light.Ó

HaywardÕs Japanese Garden is just an introduction to this unique style of Japanese gardening. Kimio Kimura, a man of creativity and originality, notes, ÒIf you want to do something then make it your own.Ó He truly lives up to his words as he has developed his own unique, inventive techniques and philosophies applied to Japanese gardening.

Kimura teaches Kimurascape gardening every first Saturday from 1 p.m. at the Hayward Japanese Garden.

Hayward Japanese Garden
22373 N 3rd St., Hayward
(510) 881-6700

Open Mondays-Sundays: 8 a.m. Ð 4 p.m.
No dogs, bicycles, or skating is permitted

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