Sukiya Living Magazine (JOJG)


Here's some information about Tools, Tips, and Techniques to get your Japanese garden job done.

When you're talking about Japanese gardening, it's hands-on skills that get the job done.  JOJG regularly runs articles about specialized tools and techniques.  Here are a few that might interest you:


TRIPOD LADDERS  In a Japanese garden, every centimeter of every plant is groomed every year.  Sound like overkill?  That's why Japanese gardens look the way they do.  The tool that allows a gardener to groom the top of a tree is the tripod ladder.  The best tripod ladders are made of aluminum and have telescopic third legs.  Yes, they're expensive.  But compare that cost to the potential for serious injury.  JOJG has arranged, together with Stone Lantern Discoveries, to make high-quality aluminum Japanese tripods available on the Western market.

JAPANESE GARDENING TOOLS  Every hear of a jigote?  How about a chiritori or hoh-ki?  These are some of the specialty tools that a Japanese gardener carries around every day.

OKATSUNE HAND SNIPS  The detailed pruning seen in Japanese gardens can not be done using regular "felcos" hand shears.  Nor can it be done by lightweight bonsai scissors.  The right tool for the job is a pair of high-grade hand snips made of the highest-quality steel (see illustration above).  Many different Japanese companies make this kind of tool, but Okatsune makes the BEST hand snips.  JOJG has arranged, together with Stone Lantern Discoveries, to make Okatsune hand snips available on the Western market.

FELCO HAND SHEARS   This article discusses the proper use of felco pruners.  Occasionally used in Japanese gardens, felco hand shears are a helpful tool for general pruning tasks.  In addition to proper tool use the article covers a few of the "Do's and Don't" of basic tree pruning - lessons that apply to everything from Japanese maple pruning to bonsai tree care.

THE JAPANESE SWORD  A reasonable person might ask, how is the Japanese sword related to the hand tools used in Japanese carpentry and Japanese gardening.  It's simple: prior to the Edo Period, warfare was a regular part of Japanese life, and Japanese sword makers were in demand.  They developed special steel and special ironworking processes.  During the Edo Period's many years of peace, those same craftsmen turned their skills toward making tools, and the result is a legacy of tool making raised to an art form.