Stepping stones, Tobi-ishi (飛石) in Japanese, are an essential part of the traditional Japanese garden. In contrast to ordinary garden paths, walking on stepping stones requires more concentration. This has a positive influence on the way people experience the garden. In addition, people cannot walk side by side on a path of stepping stones, eliminating potential distractions. In a tea garden, this also ensures that people do not arrive at the tea house at exactly the same time before the start of the tea ceremony.
Step paths were introduced by Sen no Rikyū, a very famous historical figure who is considered to be the founder of the tea ceremony. The original idea behind stepping stones was to keep the Zōri, traditional Japanese sandals, clean and dry while walking through the garden.
Kutsunugi-ishi (沓脱石) are wide Japanese stepping stones used to walk onto a porch from the garden. In ancient Japan, they were often placed in tea gardens so that visitors could enter the tea house by stepping up from the garden. Before entering Japanese buildings, especially traditional houses, it is an important custom to take off your shoes. This can be done standing on the Kutsunugi-ishi, which in Japanese means: Rock on which shoes are taken off.
Benikamo is a special type of stone that is often used in the Japanese garden. These stones are known for their recognizable red color and come from the Kamo River, which flows through Kyoto. The name Benikamo stone literally translates to: Crimson red stone from the Kamo river.
- Depth = 29.92 inches
- Width = 29.13 inches
-Height = 12.20 inches
- Origin: Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
- Material: Benikamo stone (紅加茂石)