Tobi-ishi (飛石)

Stepping stones in a traditional Japanese garden ~ Tokyo.

They are called Tobi-ishi (飛石) in Japanese. The literal translation is “Flying stones” or “Skipping stones”. They are irregularly arranged according to the principle of asymmetry. Tea master Sen no Rikyu (千利休, 1522-1591) is said to have introduced the tobi-ishi path. He didn’t like that sandals became dirty when walking on the bare soil. He also recommended that the stepping stones are 6cm higher than the ground. Sen no Rikyu perfected the art of tea ceremony and fostered the development of tea gardens (露地, roji / “dewy path”).

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