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 30: 7:30am – 6pm.
October 1 – March 19: 8am – 5pm

Admission
410 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
Gardens

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
Mid February – September 30: 6am – 7pm
October 1 – Mid February: 7am – 6pm

Admission
– free
– During Plum Blossom festival 300 Yen
– Kobutei 200 Yen (Closing 5pm in summer, 4:30pm in winter/
Closed Dec. 29 – Jan. 3)

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

Gardens

Zuisen-ji (Flower Temple)(瑞泉寺 (花寺))

Zuisen-ji is a small temple hidden away in the eastern mountains of Kamakura. The temple’s nickname is ‘flower temple’ and its flower garden in the front of the temple is the most beautiful in Kamakura. It is a branch of the Engaku-ji temple in Kita-Kamakura. Zen priest, poet and garden designer Musō Soseki founded the temple with the support of Nikaidō Dōun, a powerful lord of the Yamanashi area in 1327.

After walking up the steep way to the temple, you can enjoy a breathtaking outlook on the surrounding mountains while resting under a wisteria arbor. This spot is especially famous in autumn when the mountain forests turn a bright yellow, orange and red. The garden seems enchanted – it has lots of gnarled, moss covered trees, overgrowing flowering shrubs and scattered perennials that partially cover old stone lanterns and garden stones.

The rock zen garden in the back was created by its founder and garden designer Musō Soseki. A cave and a pond with islands were carved from the rock of the mountains. Closed for the public, a steeply ascending passageway leads up to the to a meditation arbor and view point.

The temples mountain name (San-go 山号) is Kinpei-zan (錦屏山). The direct translation is Brocade-Wall-Mountain. Zuisen-ji received it because the near mountains around the temple (like a wall) glow bright like brocade in autumn, when the leaves change their colors.

Contents of the eBook
  • Introduction
  • Historical background – Fall of the Kamakura Shogunate and beginning of the Muromachi period
  • History of the temple
  • Musō Soseki
  • The temple and garden – Ichiran-tei, Zen rock garden, Yagura
  • Plants in the garden
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Eating and Drinking
  • How to get there
  • Literature

14 pages
51 illustrations
27.4 MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
Zuisen-ji is located in the far east of Kamakura, rather distant from Kamakura Station.

On foot: It takes about 45-50 minutes to reach Zuisen-ji by foot from Kamakura Station or about 30 minutes from Hachimangu Shrine. The temple can also be reached via the attractive Tenen hiking trail which starts at Kencho-ji and leads through the wooded hills north of Kamakura in about 60-90 minutes.

By bus: The closest bus station to Zuisen-ji is located at Kamakura-gu Shrine. Take the bus 鎌20 towards Ōtō-nomiya 大塔宮 (鎌倉宮Kamakura-Gu ) from bus stop number 4. Get of at the last stop and walk from there about 10-15 minutes.

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

Admission
200 Yen

Address
EN: 710 Nikaidō, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0002
JP: 神奈川県鎌倉市二階堂710
Gardens

Zuihō-in (Daitoku-ji)(瑞峯院)

Zuihō-in is an extraordinary temple in Kyoto: It was founded by daimyo Otomo, who was one of the early Christians in Japan. He founded the temple as his family temple; he and his wife are buried here as well. Garden designer Shigemori Mirei, who created the gardens in 1961, included a Garden of the Cross and even a statue of the Virgin Mary in reference to the founder.

The temple itself was built in 1546, after the Onin war (1467-77), so many of its building have never burnt and are still in their original shape.

The main garden to the south of the Hōjō is called Dokuza-tei (独坐庭 ). The Chinese characters mean Alone-Sitting-Garden and refer to an Island of the Taoist mythology. From the famous Horai-Zan, the Mountain of the Blessed, a long and thin peninsula protrudes into the rough sea. Even further away is a single island, sitting alone in the rough waters of the wide sea. If you look at the garden, it is actually really easy to see the Horai-zan in the right-hand corner, the peninsula in front of it and the rough sea.

Contents of the eBook
  • Introduction
  • Daitoku-ji
  • History of Zuihō-in
  •  -Shigemori Mirei-
  • Buildings
      -Hōjō
      -Teahouse Yokei-an
      -Teahouse Anshō-ken
      -Teahouse Heisei-tai-an
      -Gates
  • Gardens
      -Entry Garden
      -Dokuza-tei
      -Kanmin-tei
      -Tea gardens
  • Anika’s Impressions
  • Recommendations around Zuihō-in
  • Access & General Information
  • Related eBooks

12 pages full of information about the temple
21 pictures of the gardens
PDF 15 MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Watch the Zuiho-in video here.

Directions

How to get there
Bus: Take the bus 205 or 206 and get off at the stop ‘Daitoku-ji’.
Subway: Take the Karasuma line to Kitaō-ji station and walk about 15 minutes in a westward direction.

Admission
400 Yen

Address
EN: 〒603-8231, Kyoto-Shi, Kita-Ku, Murasakino, 53 Daitoku-ji-Chō
JP: 〒603-8231, 京都市 北区 紫野 大徳寺町53

Telephone
075-491-1454

Opening hours
9am – 5pm
Gardens

Tōfuku-ji - Garden of the Hōjō(東福寺)

Tōfuku-ji is one of the Five Great Zen temples in the Kyoto Mountain system. It is a temple complex in southern Kyoto with 24 sub-temples.

Its garden were redesigned by the scholar Mirei Shigemori in the 1930s. He had studied the traditional Japanese gardens for decades before starting to design gardens himself. He built his designs on the old garden design principles, and connected them to the contemporary Japanese design of that time. The result are impressive gardens like the four gardens of Tōfuku-ji that surround the hōjō, the former head priest’s quarters.

Another remarkable feature of this tempe is the big mountain gate (山門 – San-mon) to the south of the garden. It is the oldest San-mon in Japan. The temple was built in 1236 (Kamakura period), and the founding priest is Enni Ben’en, a Japanese priest that went to China to study Zen buddhism. He is also believed to have imported the Udon wheat noodles, until today one of the most popular dishes in Japan.

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Gardens

Directions

How to get there
Take the Nara line from Kyoto station towards Nara. Get off at the first stop, Tōfuku-ji, and walk in southern direction until you get to the temple.

Admission
– 500 Yen (Hojo and gardens)
– 600 Yen (Tsutenkyo Bridge and Kaisando Hall), 1000 Yen during Autumn season
– 1000 Yen Combi ticket garden and bridge (not during autumn season)

Opening Times
April – October: 9am – 4pm
November – first Sunday in December: 8:30am – 4pm
first Monday in December – to March: 9am – 3:30pm

Address
EN: 15-778 Honmachi Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
JP: 〒605-0981 京都府京都市東山区本町15丁目778

Tenryū-ji(天龍寺)

The temple was founded by shogun Ashikaga Takauji in 1339, primarily to venerate Gautama Buddha, and its first head priest was Musō Soseki. Construction was completed in 1345. As a temple related to both the Ashikaga family and Emperor Go-Daigo, the temple is held in high esteem, and is ranked number one among Kyoto’s so-called Five Mountains. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”.

There are two different tickets – one for the garden and another for the temple buildings itself. We saw the garden only, but would recommend to buy the temple ticket, as you get to see the garden from the temple and the inside of great fusuma-e, the sliding screen paintings on the inside of the temple.

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Directions

How to get there
Bus: Take the Kyoto bus 61, 72, or 83, and get off at the stop ‘Arashiyama Tenryuji Mae’. Take the Shi bus 11, 28, or 93, and get off at the stop ‘Arashiyama Tenryuji Mae’.

Subway: Take the Arashiyama line to Arashiyama station and walk about 5 minutes in western direction.

Admission
500 Yen (garden only)
800 Yen (garden and building)

Opening hours 8:30am – 5pm
Last admission: 4:50pm

Address
EN: 68 Saga-tenryuji-susukinobaba-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
JP: 〒616-8385 京都府京都市右京区嵯峨天龍寺芒ノ馬場町68
Gardens

Shūraku-en(衆楽園)

Shūraku-en is a park in Tsuyama city in the prefecture Okayama. The garden was built after the model of the Kyoto Sento Imperial Palace for the daimyo Mori Nagatsugu. The garden designer was a disciple of Kobori Enshu, the famous Japanese garden designer and tea master.

The garden is laid out as a pond strolling garden around the southern pond, with a small stream meandering through the garden. The Chukoku mountains are used as a background for the garden (shakkei – 借景).
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Directions

How to get there
From Okayama main station, take the JR Tsuyama line (1 hour 10 minutes) from platform number 9 towards Tsuyama (津山).
From Tsuyama station, either take a taxi (10 minutes) or walk around 30 minutes in nothern direction.

Admission
Free to enter

Address
EN: 628 Yamakita, Tsuyama, Okayama Prefecture 708-0004, Japan
JP: 〒708-0004 岡山県津山市山北 628
Gardens

Shūgaku-in Rikyū(修学院離宮)

Shūgaku-in Rikyū is an exception among Kyoto’s imperial gardens. There is not only one garden on its grounds, but three separate gardens. The gardens are connected by gravel paths, which lead through vegetable patches and rice fields. It also never was the official residence of a member of the imperial family – Emperor Gomizuno-o (1596-1680) had built these gardens as a private retreat in the outskirts of Kyoto, on the foot of the Higashiyama, the eastern hills. Additionally, this garden may be the best example of the use of “borrowed landscape”- Shakkei (借景) in Japan.

The retired emperor Gomizuno-o (後水尾天皇) built the gardens between 1653 and 1655 with the financial support of the shogun. More than 600 years earlier, in the Heian period (794-1185), a temple called “Shūgaku-in” stood on this site. Without any actual political power, the emperor had lots of time on his hands to dedicate himself to the study of fine arts, poetry, architecture and design. It is therefore believed that most of the design was his own work. He has already participated in the design process of his official retirement residence Sentō Gosho in 1629, whose main designer was garden master Kobori Enshū. Enshū passed away in 1647, but his influence on emperor Gomizuno-o is still visible in the design of the Shūgaku-in Rikyū gardens.

There are three gardens: The lower garden, the middle garden and the upper garden. All of them have their own characteristics, but most visitors agree that the upper garden is the most spectacular one – especially in autumn, when the trees of the surrounding mountains turn into a vibrant red, yellow and orange.

Access to the garden is only granted to guided tours (free of charge). You can apply for a tour at the Imperial Household Agency Office in Kyoto (3 Kyoto-gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8611) or on their website:
http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/guide/shugakuin.html .
A contingent of tickets is available each day from 11 am on a first come first-served basis.

This is eBook is about the Japanese stone lanterns (Ishi-doro) of the Shūgaku-in Rikyū gardens.

Content
  • Shugaku-in Rikyu
  • Lower Garden
      Stone lantern – Ishi-dōrō (石燈籠)
      Kimono-sleeve lantern – Sode-gata tōrō (袖形燈籠)
      Alligator’s mouth lantern – Wanikuchi dōrō (鰐口燈籠)
      Korean stone lantern – Chōsen-dōrō (朝鮮燈籠)
  • Middle Garden
      Christian lantern – Kirishitan-dōrō (キリシタン燈籠)
      Oribe stone lantern (織部燈籠)
  • Upper Garden
      Mountain temple lantern – Yamadera-dōrō (山寺燈籠)
      Waterfall viewing lantern – Takimi-dōrō (滝見燈籠)


5 pages with
13 pictures of the stone lanterns of the Shugaku-in Rikyu garden

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Gardens

Directions

How to get there
The easiest way to get to the Shūgaku-in Imperial Villa is to take the city bus number 5 to the stop Shūgaku-in Rikyu Michi. From there, walk 15 min in eastern direction.

Admission
Free
Only adults over 18 can apply for the tour.

Address
JP: 〒 606-8052 京都府京都市左京区修学院藪添
EN: Shugakuin Yabusoe, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8052

Telephone
+81-75-211-1215

Shisen-dō(詩仙堂)

Shisen-dō is is a temple of the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism. It was built in the early Edo period (1641) as a retirement villa for Ishikawa Jōzan. Ishikawa Jōzan was a poet and calligrapher.

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Directions

How to get there
The easiest way to get to Shisen-do is to take the Kyoto city bus number 5 from Kyoto station. It takes around 50 minutes and 25 bus stops to get there. Get off at Ichijoji Sagarimatsucho (一乗寺下り松町) and walk 4minutes in uphill in eastern direction.

Admission
500 Yen

Opening times
9:00am – 5:00pm
Gardens

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

22MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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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
Gardens