Guide lights are a beautiful part of Japanese garden design. Originally used to light the way in gardens and at the entrance to temples and later used as a means of guiding guests to the tea room as the traditional tea ceremony was usually held in the evenings.
The teahouse was small (6x9): a minimum of utensils were used, bamboo stirrers, iron kettles and clay cups largely undecorated; the huts were made to look like rustic farm huts with clay walls, unpainted wood and straw thatched roofs. The emphasis on natural materials reflects the ongoing Japanese preference for simplicity and oneness with nature.
The tea-master Sen no Rikkyu has been creditited with their inclusion into the Japanese design.
Nowadays, Japanese lanterns add visual delight and dramatic garden focal points.