Words and pictures by STEVE METTAM
A COUPLE of miles from the busy A57, on the banks of the River Trent, you will find the beautiful, tranquil setting for Purelands Japanese Gardens.
Housed in and around an old farm, pulling into a paddock used as the car park and following the entrance signs through a barn, you don’t expect the sight that greets you as you enter the gardens.
You pay your entrance fee very informally in the little tea shop and are given a small map and told to enjoy your time there.
Following the meandering paths through the gardens, you see the full repertoire of the elements of a traditional Japanese garden — water, carp, bridges, bamboo, moss maple and cherry trees, stone lanterns, pagodas.
Little hidden areas are set out for you to find, then sit and enjoy the scenery.
Sit on covered seats and look out over the Zen garden, benches overlook a large pond full of koi carp, little bridges take you from one area to the next.
Turn a corner and a small pagoda sits atop a small hill, turn another and you come across a traditional tea house.
The gardens were created by Maitreya (Koji Takeuchi), a master of meditation, who has an MA degree in Buddhist Theology and lived the life of a Zen monk for a time.
After leaving Japan and travelling in India and Nepal, where he taught meditation, he ended up in the UK, before buying the property in North Clifton in 1973.
He began transforming two acres of flat field in 1980, using a JCB to create the pond and hills, to mimic the hilly and mountainous scenery of Japan in miniature.
With help from villagers, friends and local farmers, plants were sourced and stone located and ferried around and the garden competed.
The whole experience is wonderfully calming and is big enough to be able to sit and contemplate your surroundings, but not too large that you walk long distances.
A small café, serving homemade food and drinks, is run by Maitreya and his wife and is a great way to finish your tour, or a pit-stop before you go round again.
Also on offer are courses/sessions on meditation as well as being able to take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
- See website www. http://www.buddhamaitreya.co.uk/home.