Bamboo fences – Part 1  (竹垣)

In Japanese gardens as well as in Western gardens, fences can have many different functions – from being mainly practical, subdividing the garden or separating it from the outside to being a more decorative element.

Bamboo is a very light and easy to work material. It is strong, yet flexible, which allows for a great variety of practical uses and designs. As a building material for the outside, where it is exposed to sun and rain, it is relatively short-lived. Especially when the bamboo is in direct contact with water or soil, it weathers rapidly. Still, even though a fence may last only around 5 years, it ages gracefully.

Part 1 deals with the most important tall bamboo fences.


Chasen-gaki 茶筅垣
Daitokuji-gaki 大徳寺垣
Shiba-gaki (Uguisu-gaki) 柴垣, 鶯垣
Koshiba-gaki 小柴垣
Kuromoji-gaki 黒文字垣
Takehō-gaki 竹穂垣

Katsura-gaki 桂垣
Ginkakuji-gaki 銀閣寺垣
Kenninji-gaki 建仁寺垣
Misu-gaki 御簾垣
Nanzenji-gaki 南禅寺垣
Numazu-gaki/Ajiro-gaki 沼津垣, 網代垣
Teppō-gaki 鉄砲垣
Tokusa-gaki 木賊垣

Sode-gaki 袖垣

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Bamboo fences – Part 2  (竹垣)

In Japan, fences have first been used extensively during the Kamakura period and developed much later than walls. That is surprising – considering the availability and versatility of the materials used. Their functions are manifold: They block views and separate sceneries, are erected as boundaries around the garden, work as windbreaks or screens or emphasize a special element in a garden.

Part 2 of the mini-series on fences deals with low fences – Low fences are mostly used in a garden to visually separate different garden areas from another, to mark paths and to guide the visitor through the garden.

All of the fences in this eBook are see-through fences – sukashi-gaki (透垣). The garden visitor can see what lies behind them, but cannot go there. Depending on the garden situation, this design element can be used to increase curiosity.

When the fences are used to divide garden areas, they are called shikiri-gaki (仕切垣). Very low fences (about ankle to knee high) are called Ashimoto-gaki (足元垣 – “step” or “foot-level” fence). They are used to line a path and keep visitors off the moss or grass area.

Yotsume-gaki 四つ目垣
Kinkakuji-gaki 金閣寺垣
Kōestu-gaki 光悦垣
Ryōanji-gaki 龍安寺
Namako-gaki 海鼠垣、ナマコ垣
Shiori-do 枝折戸
Buying Bamboo from the wholesaler

10 pages
55 pictures

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