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.
Since Japan is an island, there are many coastal areas resulting in a significant amount of sandstone, Sagan in Japanese. A traditional principle of Japanese landscape architecture is to implement elements directly from nature. Something that applies beautifully to this type of Japanese sandstone.
- Depth = 29.53 inches
- Width = 18.90 inches
- Height = 10.63 inches
- Origin: Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
- Material: Sagan Japanese sandstone (砂岩)