Location: In the park near Parkhotel Richmond in the southern outskirts of Karlovy Vary
Date of foundation: 1998
Architect: Kanji Nomura
Official opening: June 1998
Accessibility: Freely accessible
How to get there
Route 1: You may get to the Japanese Garden from the Hot Spring in the spa centre if you walk along the right bank of the Teplá River upstream past Grandhotel Pupp and then continue along Goethova stezka (Goethe's Path) to the park in front of Parkhotel Richmond. The pleasant walk through the town centre is about 1.5 kilometres long and it will take you roughly thirty minutes.
Route 2: If you decide for the second route, travel by Bus No. 2 or Bus No. 7 from the "Tržnice" (Market) city bus terminal to the "Richmond" stop at the Art Gallery. From there, continue for about 150 metres in the direction of the park.
History of the site
The Japanese Zen meditation garden was created in 1998 according to the design of renowned Japanese landscape architect Kenji Nomura from the town of Kusatsu. The garden is situated in the park not far from Parkhotel Richmond in the southern outskirts of Karlovy Vary. It was opened at the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Erwin von Bälz, a distinguished German internal disease specialist, who was invited by the Japanese Emperor to help lay the foundations of modern medicine in his country in 1876. As a balneologist, he also informed the Japanese about Karlovy Vary. The ceremonial opening of the garden took place in June 1998. The garden was named after the German physician's wife, Hana Bälz, who is merited for helping to bring Japanese and European culture closer together.
A unique natural temple, the Japanese rock Zen garden is founded on a circular layout with an inner arch symbolizing the principles of yin and yang. White gravel represents the sea between the eastern and western hemispheres. From the eastern shore, a stone in the shape of a ship sets out to sea in the westward direction. A stone protruding in the middle represents Hana Bälz – the Good connecting the East and the West. A stone lantern, which provides sufficient light, is a parable of Buddha showing the correct path of life.