Annual Conference

National Conference and AGM 2020

We are pleased to announce details of the Society’s first ‘virtual’ National Conference and the Annual General Meeting.  Both events will be held in the afternoon of Saturday 10th October and require separate on-line Zoom webinair registration in advance (see also ).   

The registration and other details for the AGM & Conference have been sent to all JGS members by email (or by post to JGS members resident in the UK without email addresses registered on our database) and should have been received by 23rd September 2020.   Alternatively this information can be obtained by contacting:

The virtual Annual General Meeting will commence at 1:45pm, with formal proceedings beginning at 2:00pm.  

The virtual Conference will start at 3:15 pm (log-in at 3pm is recommended to enable connection).  It features two half-hour video presentations by internationally known key-note speakers who reside in the USA and Japan.

Hoichi Kurisu, will be speaking about the significance of ma in Japanese garden design.  Ma is the space between elements of the garden, contributing a positive element in its own right to the effectiveness of the design and the experience of the viewer.

Tomoki Kato, will describe his landscape company’s approach to fostering gardens in Kyoto that will be familiar to some JGS members. His talk will feature his company’s work in caring for the garden at Murin-an, Kyoto, Japan.

Following the video presentations the audience will be able to use “Zoom Q&A” to ask a panel of UK experts any questions they have arising from these video presentations.  The conference will end at 4:30pm

Speaker profiles

Hoichi Kurisu, President, Kurisu International, is a noted designer of Japanese gardens, active in the United States. Kurisu studied landscape design and construction under Kenzo Ogata in Tokyo, Japan. He later became Landscape Director for the Garden Society of Japan, during which time he supervised construction of the Portland Japanese Garden. Other gardens he has designed include the Morikami Museum in Florida, Anderson Gardens Illinois, Lebanon Community Hospital, Oregon, Harn Museum, University of Florida, Samaritan Lebanon Health Sciences Campus and Boulder Falls Inn.

Tomoki Kato, President, Ueyakato Landscape, is based in Kyoto and is one of the visiting Japanese tutors at the International Japanese Garden Training Center, Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon.  Fostering is a term adopted by Kato-san as an alternative to maintenance, reflecting a different way of thinking about the approach to caring for gardens.  His message, as President, on the Ueyakato Landscape website begins “In today’s ultra-convenient society, Japanese gardens, which sometimes are fostered over a period of several centuries, must seem quite inefficient. We believe, however, that it is precisely in our present age that garden fostering techniques may hold the value we need to help shape a better society.”

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National Conference and AGM 2019

The 2019 Conference was held at the Crown Hotel, Harrogate on 12th October 2019 which attracted over 90 delegates. The Theme was “Keeping Japanese gardens looking good” and focussed on the challenges of renovation and ongoing maintenance in three amazing Japanese style gardens in the UK.   Three excellent speakers (Kate White, Simon Tetlow and Robert Ketchell) provided an insight into the restoration of the Japanese garden at Cowden; the challenges for ongoing maintenance of the established Japanese garden at Tatton Park and the restoration of the Japanese garden at Cottered. 

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National Conference and AGM 2018

The society’s National Conference and AGM was held at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff on 1 September. The conference marked the 25th anniversary of the society. The National Museum of Wales had been hosting an exhibition entitled Kizuna (meaning bond) over the summer celebrating the links between Japanese and Welsh culture and it was therefore opportune to hold the conference at the same venue during the exhibition run.

The theme of the conference was Japanese garden design – past, present and future. Over 80 delegates attended to hear talks from Yoko Kawaguchi, Robert Ketchell, Howard Healey and a panel discussion with Graham Hardman, Katie Croft and Robert Ketchell. Talks covered such themes as choosing the right rocks for a Japanese garden, a new trend of including deciduous trees in Japanese garden design, principles and perspectives of Japanese garden design, as well as a review of where the society has come from over the last 25 years and where it is going in the future.

The conference had the pleasure of receiving a visit from special guests, Minister Okada and Mr Shimizu from the Japanese Embassy, together with Mr Dunn, Honorary Consul for Japan in Wales and his wife.