Hamarikyū Teien  (浜離宮恩賜庭園)

The Hamarikyū garden is a large strolling garden directly next to Tokyo bay. It was built by the shogun Tokugawa in the Edo period (1603-1868). The garden’s ponds are connected to the Tokyo bay so the water level of the ponds changed with the tide. Large parts of the garden were reed fields, and the southern garden was used by the Shogun’s family for falconry and duck hunting.

With the Meiji Restauration in 1868, the Tokugawa shogunate fell and the imperial family built a detached villa on the grounds of the garden. This is also where the garden’s name comes from – Hama (浜) means “beach”, “seashore”; and rikyū (離宮) means “detached palace”. Teien (庭園) is a word for “garden” or “park”.

The garden has meandering ponds interconnected by little streams. There is a tea house on the middle island (中島 – Nakashima) of the southern pond, a plum grove (visit in late February to March), a 300-year-old pine tree and a field of wildflowers (cosmea and rape flowers). It is a nice garden to take a long walk. Because the garden is large, you rarely meet other visitors.

A free audio guide in English is available at the ticket gates – it has several guided tours, but it also allows you to roam around freely and just gives you information when you come to an important part of the garden.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Mountains
  • Highlights
  • Flowers
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Hamarikyū garden


20 pages full of information about the Hamarikyū garden
38 pictures of the gardens

PDF 27MB

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Directions

How to get there
To get to Hamarikyu gardens, take the Yamanote line to Shinbashi (新橋駅) or the Oedo line to Shiodome(汐留駅)。Walk eastwards from there.
There is also the possibility to go by boat from Asakusa to the garden. But since the boat is quite low, often you don’t see more than the quay walls. The entrance fee to the garden is included in the fare.

Address
東京都中央区浜離宮庭園1-1
1-1 Hamarikyu Teien, Chuo, Tokyo

Telephone
03-3541-0200 ‎

Admission
300 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 1st.

Kairaku-en  (偕楽園)

Kairaku-en is a large strolling garden in Mito-Shi, Ibaraki-Ken. It was built by Tokugawa Nariaki in the year 1841 for the enjoyment of normal people of the area. The garden belongs to the Three Great Gardens of Japan. The best season to visit the garden is in early spring, when the plum trees start to bloom.

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Directions

How to get there
The garden belongs to Mito-city. From Ueno station in Tokyo, you can take the JR Hitachi line ‘Fresh Hitachi’ towards Katsuta or ‘Super Hitachi’ towards Iwaki (platform 16/17). After one hour and about 10 minutes, get off at Mito (水戸). From the station, walk two kilometers in western direction, take a taxi or the bus to get to Kairakuen.

Opening times
March-September: 6am – 7pm
October-February: 7am – 6pm

Admission
free (Kobutei 200 Yen)

Address
〒310-0912 水戸市見川1-1251偕楽園公園
Mito-shi Migawa 1-1251 Kairakuen-Koen

Kenroku-en  (兼六園)

Kenroku-en is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. It was built in the Edo period (1603-1868) for the Maeda daimyo clan. It used to be the outer garden of the Kanazawa castle.
The garden has a large pond and several panoramic views around it. The oldest fountain of Japan can also be found here.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kanazawa station (金沢), you can take a taxi to get to Kenroku-en (10 minutes) or walk the 2 kilometers (about 30 minutes).

Opening times
March-October 15th: 7am-6pm
October 16th-February: 8am-5pm

Admission
300 yen
“Kenrokuen+1 Tickets”, which allow admission to Kenrokuen Garden and one more cultural facility within the city, are also available for purchase for 500 yen.

Address
石川県金沢市兼六町1-4
Ishikawa-Ken, Kanazawa-Shi, Rokuen-cho 1-4

Kōraku-en  (後楽園)

The Kōraku-en gardens are a large strolling garden with a meandering stream and belong to the Three Great Gardens in Japan. They have been built in 1700 (Edo period) by the lord of the Okayama area, Ikeda Tsunamasa. It took more than 13 years to finish the construction works. Although the park was used for the amusement of the daimyo family and their guests, regular people also were allowed to visit the gardens on special days.

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Directions

How to get there
From Okayama station, take the tram towards Higashiyama (東山). After 3 stops, get off at Shiroshita (城下). From there, walk straight ahead for 350m and cross the bridge.

You can also take a bus to the gardens: From Okayama station, go to bus terminal 4 and take the bus headed for Fujiwara Danchi.

Opening times
March 20 – September: 7:30am – 6pm.
October – March 19: 8am – 5pm

Admission
400 yen
An audio guide is available for 500 yen.

Address
〒703-8257, 岡山県岡山市北区後楽園1-5
Korakuen 1-5, Kita-ku, Okayama City 703-8257

Ritsurin Kōen  (高松栗林公園)

This pond strolling period garden was built over the time of more than 100 years – in 1625, daimyo Ikoma Takatoshi began the construction works in the city of Takamatsu. In 1745, the garden was finished. It has six ponds that are all interconnect by little stream, a tea house, an artificial hill and an artificial waterfall. It takes 1 to 2 hours to view the entire garden.

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Directions

How to get there
3 min walk from JR Ritsurin-koen-kitaguchi Station (栗林公園北口)

Address
1-20-16 Ritsurin-cho Takamatsu City、Kagawa-Ken

Telephone
087-833-7411

Admission
free

Opening hours
7am to 5pm

Sengan-en  (仙巌園)

Sengan-en was built as a second residence by Shimadzu Mitsuhisa, 19th head of the Shimadzu family, in 1658. The garden covers an area of approximately 50,000㎡ and is designated as meishō (名勝) – a national place of scenic beauty.

Sengan-en is perhaps best known for its use of shakkei (借景) borrowed scenery. Active volcano Sakurajima acts as a tsukiyama (築山), an artificial hill present in Japanese gardens, and Kinkō Bay forms the pond.

The residence was heavily influeneced by Chinese and Ryukyuan culture due to its location in the South of Japan. The Bōgakurō pavilion (望嶽楼) is constructed in Ryukyuan style, and was used to host important guests. The Kyokusui garden (曲水庭), used yearly for Kyokusui no En (曲水の宴) – a traditional poetry composition event, is based on Chinese culture.

The house, lived in by successive generations of the Shimadzu family (daimyo family in the Edo period), has regular guided tours and guests can enjoy the private inner garden while drinking matcha and eating a traditional Japanese sweet.

The area around Sengan-en was instrumental in the modernization of Japanese industry, and in July, 2015 Sengan-en and Shōko Shūseikan, now a museum and once Japan’s first factory, were recognized as World Cultural Heritage Sites related to Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution.

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Directions

How to get there
The garden can be reached by walking from Kagoshima Station. The walk takes about 40 minutes.

By bus
From Kagoshima Chuo Station (Kagoshima City View Bus, Machi Meguri Bus)
30 minutes by bus – get off at the Sengan-en Mae (仙巌園前) bus stop

From Kagoshima Station (Nangoku Kotsu Bus, Iwasaki Bus)
10 minutes by bus – get off at the Sengan-en Mae (仙巌園前) bus stop

Address
JP: 鹿児島県鹿児島市吉野町9700-1 〒892-0871
EN: 9700-1 Yoshino-chō, Kagoshima City, Japan 892-0871

Opening hours
8:30am – 17:30pm (All year round)

Admission
1000 Yen (+600 Yen for guided tour through the house)

Shinjuku Gyoen  (新宿御苑)

Surprisingly, Shinjuku Gyoen has one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in Tokyo. It is a vast park and has different garden sections: a Japanese garden with two ponds connected by a small river, a formal French garden with roses en masse and an English Landscape garden.

The park used to be the residence of the Naitō daimyō clan and was built in the Edo period (1603-1868). In the Meiji period (1868-1912), the Imperial Household Agency took over the garden and remodeled it for the imperial family in 1906. It was completely destroyed in the Second World War in 1945. In 1949, the gardens were opened to the public for the first time.

Especially in spring, between end of March and end of April, the Japanese garden is worth a visit when more than 1500 cherry trees turn the landscapes in all shades of white and pink. The perfectly round trimmed azaleas shine in a bright pink and purple in May and June. There is also a Japanese tea house with a marvellous view of the pond, surrounded by a tree panorama that manages to screen out Tokyo’s modern buildings.

Contents:
Introduction
History
Buildings
Gardens
Anikas Impressions
Around Shinjuku Gyoen

17 pages full of information about the Shinjuku Gyoen
33 pictures of the gardens

PDF 22MB
mobi 19MB

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Directions

How to get there
You can get to the park by either walking in a westward direction from Shinjuku Station or Yoyogi Station or take the Marunouchi line to Shinjuku-Gyoen-Mae station (新宿御苑前). Another subway station close by is Shinjuku San-chome (新宿三丁目), served by Marunouchi line, Shinjuku line and Fukutoshin line.

Admission
500 yen

Opening times
10/1 – 3/14 9:00am to 4:00pm (closes at 4:30)
3/15 – 9/30 9:00am to 5:30pm (closes at 6:00)
7/1 – 8/20 9:00am to 6:30pm (closes at 7:00)
Closed on Mondays and between December 29th and January 3rd

Tel
+81-(0)3-3350-0151 

Address
11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Kyū-Shiba-Rikyū Teien  (旧芝離宮庭園)

The Kyū-Shibarikyū garden is a former imperial garden in southern Tokyo. It is a typical pond strolling garden (回遊式泉水庭園) from the Edo period. The land it is built on was reclaimed from the Tokyo bay in 1658. The premises were the residence of daimyō Ōkubo Tadatomo, a politician of the Edo shogunate. The layout is typical for Samurai-style architecture (Buke-zukuri – 武家造). The owners changed again and again over the time until after the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), it was purchased by the imperial household and became the Shiba Detached Imperial Villa.

While the gardens in north Tokyo (Rikugi-en and Koishikawa garden) have a secluded feel to it, Kyū-Shibarikyū feels open and airy. The surrounding high rise buildings, the landmarks of modern Tokyo are a striking contrast to the overall softness of this over 300 year old garden. The garden itself is magnificent – immaculately maintained, small enough to oversee from one of the vantage points, and large enough to discover new views and perspectives with every turn of the path. Jenny’s absolute favorite garden in Tokyo.

Contents:

Introduction
The Pond
Rocks in the garden
Fences in the garden
Paths in the garden
Plants in the garden
The garden in winter

13 pages packed with detailed information about this Daimyo garden
63 great pictures of the garden, its rocks, ponds and plants
14MB
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Directions

How to get there
The garden is conveniently located next to the Hamamatsu-chō station(浜松町) of the Yamanote line. Just walk 1 minute to the west and you will get to the entrance gates.
The subway station Daimon (大門) is 3 minutes away. Use the Oedo line and Asakusa line to get here.

Address
東京都港区海岸 1-4-1
1-4-1 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Admission
150 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 3rd.

Koishikawa Korakuen  (小石川後楽園)

The Koishikawa garden, formally called Koishikawa-kōraku-en (小石川後楽園), is a small garden jewel in Tokyo. Well preserved from the Edo period (1603-1868), it is one of the oldest gardens in Tokyo. The daimyo and son of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Tokugawa Yorifusa started to build the garden in 1629, and his son Tokugawa Mitsukuni finished it in 1669 with the help of the Chinese scholar Shu Shunsui.

The garden features several scenes that represent famous Japanese and Chinese landscapes. As typical for strolling gardens, there is a pond in the middle of the garden, and a path that leads around it. The garden master designed the garden that the visitor sees a different scenery, a different view every few steps. The pond of the garden is fed by the water of the nearby Koishikawa river (Little stone river).

Especially the nearby Tokyo dome, the tower of the Bunkyo Civic Center with the sky view lounge, and the screams from the small amusement park’s roller coaster make clear that this garden is a sweet little oasis in the middle of Tokyo.

Contents:
Introduction
History
Buildings
Bridges
Lanterns
Waterfalls
Stones
Highlights
Flowers
Anikas Impressions
Around Koishikawa Korakuen

23 pages full of information about the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
56 pictures of the gardens

PDF 10MB

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Directions

How to get there
To get to the Koishikawa gardens, you can either go directly to Koshikawa station (小石川駅) with the Marunouchi or Namboku line or take the Sobu line or Mita line to Suidobashi station (水道場所).
But the nearest Station is IIdabashi, which is served by the Sobu-Line, Tozai-Line, Namboku-Line, Yurakucho-Line and Oedo-Line.

Address
東京都文京区後楽1-6-6
1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Opening times
9am – 5pm (last entrance at 4:30)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 1st.

Admission
300 Yen