Mostly, Japanese designs are asymmetrical; the triangle is often used in Japanese gardens. As with Chinese gardens, Japanese gardens often were designed as miniature landscapes with mountains, lakes, waterfalls and rivers.Flowers were rarely used in Japanese gardens, the landscape was intended solely to be picturesque for the purpose of contemplation or meditation.
Japanese gardens often had tea houses, designed specifically for the spiritual ritual of making tea. The tea house would be located at the end of a meandering path of stepping stones within the garden, sometimes lit with lanterns. The journey was intended to mentally prepare the visitor for the ritual. The tea houses themselves had small doors so that the visitor had to crawl in on hands and knees, this was done as it implied that Samurai Warriors would have to remove their swords to enter.
Acer palmatum or Japanese maple tree is a popular choice and rightly so. There are a large selection of maple trees to choose from with differing coloured and shaped leaves reaching from 2 to 4 meters in 20 years.
Phyllostachys or bamboo plant is another great choice for oriental style gardens. Bamboos were used to represent water as when a breeze moved between the canes and leaves the sound made can be likened to a running stream.
Prunus or flowering cherry tree is one of the most famous in Japanese design. Japanese cherry trees are often graceful and ladened with blossom. There is a Japanese plum tree forest called Kairakuen located in Mito, Ibaraki, Japan. It was built relatively recently in the year 1841 by the local lord Tokugawa Nariaki and boasts over 150 different varieties of prunus.