A walk in the park

Five of the finest gardens in Japan

Imagine a garden filled with a large variety of seasonal flora and walking paths. The warm air is filled with beautiful scents - of freshly cut grass and the sweet nectar of flowers in bloom - and you can hear the birds and insects going about their merry business. Strategic lookout points in the garden provide panoramic views, while tree-lined tunnels carve out a secret garden atmosphere. Gardens are perhaps where many people go to relax and enjoy nature in a controlled landscaped setting, akin to seeking a constant in an ever-changing world.

There are various types of gardens in Japan, including tea and dry gardens. This article covers five strolling gardens, which include bodies of water, islands and lookout points.

Kairakuen Garden, Mito

Located in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, Kairakuren Garden is one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan. Famous for its plum blossoms, the garden has over 3000 plum trees of different varieties.

Kenrokuen Garden, Kanazawa

Another one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan, Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, is a delight to visit any time of the year. The garden is adjacent to Kanazawa Castle and was also the castle's outer garden for centuries. Some unique features of the beautiful garden include one of Japan's oldest fountain, and the two-legged Kotojitori Lantern. Kenrokuen Garden is also famous for its yukizuri, in which ropes are tied to the branches of pine trees to prevent them from breaking under heavy snow.

Korakuen Garden, Okayama

Korakuen Garden in Okayama, Okayama Prefecture, is also one of the three most beautiful landscape gardens in Japan. The garden lies across the river from Okayama Castle and uses the castle as borrowed scenery. Korakuen Garden has spacious lawns and groves of seasonal flora like plum trees and cherry trees as well as a number of teahouses.

Ritsurin Koen, Takamatsu

Considered to be one of the best gardens in Japan, Ritsurin Koen is a serene garden in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, which uses the Mount Shiun as a backdrop. Walking trails lead through the numerous bodies of water, groves of cherry trees, maple trees and even past a small waterfall. Ritsurin Koen is also home to over 1000 pine trees, some of which are said to be over 300 years old!

Monet's Garden Marmottan, Kitagawa Village

Probably the most obscure garden in this list, Monet's Garden Marmottan in Kitagawa Village, Kochi Prefecture, is a replica of Claude Monet's garden in Giverny, France. Monet's Garden in Kitagawa Village is the only one of its kind in the world and built under the guidance of the Claude Monet foundation. There are three zones in the garden, each offering a different theme showcasing the flora beauty that Monet saw and inspired him. Replicas of Monet's works can be found in the garden, allowing visitors to see how the painter saw the world around him.

Home Delivery by japan-guide.com is a series of articles on Japanese culture, life and travel for all of us who are currently staying home to flatten the curve. Many travel plans, including our own, have been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. While we aren't able to share new content from the road, we hope this collection from our travel archive helps you explore a bit of Japan from your own home.