A Japanese Zen Rock Garden Made From Sweets


Photos by Yuichi Nakatsu courtesy Tomonori Saito



shinanji-sekitei (4)

In Japan, Zen rock gardens are considered, if nothing else, a source of serenity and relaxation. Tokyo city dwellers will often travel all the way to Kyoto just to sample the revered gardens housed within local shrines. Another source of relaxation – enjoying Japanese sweets – doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with rock gardens. But combining these two modern-day pleasures in an elegant design is the Shinan-ji Temple Rock Garden. Named after a fictional temple, the miniature rock garden is actually made from entirely edible ingredients that include black sesame cubes (shaped like rocks) and a bed of sugar (resembling sand).

The unique collaboration is the work of art directors Tomonori Saito and Shohei Sawada, who enlisted Japanese wagashi artisan Motohiro Inaba to help make their sweet garden a reality. The adorable wooden rake included in the set can not be eaten.

Although this set never made it to market, a Japanese company has created a similar edible Japanese garden DIY set.


  1. I am usually not a big fan of Japanese Zen Rock Gardens as they might be fun at first but then only end up as dust catchers. This one is however is very different. Once you get bored of it, you can just eat it 🙂

    Kati from black.white.vivid.

  2. Are these available for sale to the US anywhere online?

    • @Seth – Unfortunately the garden isn’t available for sale in the US, Japan or anywhere. But the designers are currently looking for a manufacturer or sponsor who would like to bring it to market!

  3. This is so cute – I love this concept! I hope that it is brought to life soon!

  4. These would sell like hotcakes! They should begin a Kickstarter campaign.

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