"At the Arboretum, when people ask about Japanese gardens, I always recommend JOJG as the very best source of information."

Richard Winchester, National Arboretum, Washington, DC.

  Japanese Garden Journal

Stone Lanterns

Each year JOJG publishes one or two articles about the use of stone lanterns in Japanese gardens.  Some articles are about lantern styles such as the kasuga-style lantern and the yukimi-style lantern.  Other articles involve design considerations such as lantern placement.

One thing worth remembering is the fact that - in Japan - stone lanterns are not actually used as light sources.  They are placed in "functional" positions beside garden paths, but contrary to Western belief they are rarely, if ever, lit.

Many myths exist that try to assign special meaning to certain lanterns.  For the most part, these stories are misinformation that is fabricated by the tourism industry.  In nearly every case, Japanese garden lanterns are simply handsome garden ornaments that express the beauty of stone.

Here are a few Japanese lantern articles that JOJG has run in previous years:


STONE LANTERN STYLE CLASSIFICATION   There are hundreds of different stone lanterns found in Japanese gardens, but they can generally be classified into nine main groups.  In this article, Gary Bolstridge discusses the nine classifications.

STONE LANTERN ASSEMBLY   Most stone lanterns come in six pieces.  This article explains how the pieces go together and what each piece is called in Japanese.

LANTERNS OF SEIWA-EN   The Missouri Botanical Garden has a large collection of Japanese stone lanterns.  This article provides photos and descriptions of each.

LANTERN SITE SELECTION   This article discusses design considerations about lantern placement.  Each site is different, and for each location there will be some lantern styles that are more appropriate than others.