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

Sankei-en(三溪園)

This beautiful landscape garden in Yokohama is one of Japan’s youngest gardens. Construction works began in 1902 and it was opened to the public in 1906. The founder of the garden, Sankei Hara, a silk trader from Yokohama, has collected numerous buildings from all over Japan. Japanese buildings can often be dismantled and put together in another place. This is what Sankei did to preserve these historically significant buildings.

The garden has several ponds and streams. In the outer garden, next to the main pond, the Main Hall and three-storied pagoda of Tōmyō-ji temple in Kyoto have been rebuilt.

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eBook Coming…    

Directions

How to get there
From the Yokohama main station, take bus number 8 towards Honmoku-Shako (本牧車庫) and get off at Honmoku-Sankei-en-mae. From there, walking in south western direction, follow the signs toward the park entrance.

Address
58-1 Honmokusannotani, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

Admission
700 yen

Openting times
9am – 5pm (last entrance 30 before closing time)
Not open between December 29th and 31st.

Sanbō-in (Daigō-ji)(醍醐寺 三宝院)

Sanbō-in is a temple of the Shingon school of Buddhism. It is a sub-temple of Daigō-ji and especially known for its beautiful garden.
The temple was built in 1115 (Heian period) and rebuilt in 1598 (Azuchi-Momoyama period). The garden is a large pond garden, with numerous stones and famous cherry and plum trees.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Nara line towards Nara and get off after two stops at Rokujizo station. Change here for the Tozai line towards Uzumases Tenjingawa. After 4 minutes and two stops you will arrive at Daigo station. From there, either take a taxi to the temple (1.1km) or walk in westwards direction (15 minutes).

Opening times
March-November: 9am – 5pm
December-February: 9am – 4pm
Last entry: 30 minutes before closing date.

Admission
500 Yen

Address
22 Daigohigashiojicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 601-1325

Rikugien(六義園 )

One of the most beautiful gardens in Tokyo, the Rikugien offers a quiet resting and strolling place in the hectic Tokyo life. It is situated in the quiet neighborhood of Komagome and Sugamo (Bunkyo ward), which are also worth a visit.

The garden is a strolling garden of the Edo period (1603-1868). Samurai Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu built the garden with the permission of the shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi between 1695 and 1702. Originally, 88 famous views from Japanese and Chinese landscapes have been imitated in miniature form in this garden, however, only 32 remain today. The garden’s name translates literally Six Rules Garden and refers to the six basic rules of Waka poetry. Waka translates as “Japanese Poem”, and has its roots in the Heian period (794-1185).

Rikugi-en is one of Tokyo’s finest gardens and offers the visitor an ever-changing landscape. Although its square footage is considerable, the garden feels closed and intimate. We recommend enjoying the view over the garden while having a bowl of green matcha tea in the tea house.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Highlights
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Rikugien

17 pages full of information about the Rikugien Garden
39 pictures of the gardens

PDF 25MB

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Rikugi-en Video
Watch the Rikugi-en video

Directions

How to get there
The garden is hidden in the quiet neighborhood of Komagome and Sugamo in the north of central Tokyo, but can be reached conveniently by the Yamanote line or the Namboku line, Komagome station. The garden is south of the station.

Address
JP: 東京都文京区本駒込六丁目
EN: 6 Chome Honkomagome Bunkyō-ku, Tōkyō

Admission
300 Yen

Opening times
9:00am – 5:00pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Closed between December 29th and January 1st

Nijō Castle - Ninomaru(二条城 二の丸庭園)

The Ninomaru gardens of the Nijō castle in Kyoto have been designed by garden master Kobori Enshu. The palace was built for the first Edo shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in the early Edo period (1603-1868). There are numerous cherry and plum trees, which bloom between March and April.

The garden has a large pond with three islands that symbolize Horai-San, and the crane and turtle mountains of the Taoist mythology.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take city bus number 9 to Nijo-jo mae (二条城前) – it should take around 16 minutes.

Address
JP: 〒604-8301 京都市中京区二条通堀川西入二条城町541番地
EN: 541 Nijojocho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8301

Opening times
8:45am to 5pm (last entry at 4pm)

Closed between Dec. 26th and January 4st, and every Tuesday in January, July, August and December.

Admission
600 yen

Murin-an(無鄰菴)

Murin-an is a typical strolling garden of the Meiji period (1868-1912). It was built between 1894 and 1896 by Yamagata Aritomo, a Prime Minister of Meiji period Japan. As much as he loved the Japanese garden culture, he also had a deep interest in Western culture. The villa on the grounds of Murin-an has dark rooms, painted walls and a paneled ceiling and is a rare example of western style architecture.

The garden was realized by the Japanese master gardener Ogawa Jihee. The garden uses the eastern hills of Kyoto as a viewpoint, which let it appear as an extension of the mountain scenery. This technique is called shuzan – 主山. It has a small stream that is fed by the waters of Lake Biwa, Japan’s biggest lake. Large parts of the garden are lawn, probably an influence of English landscape gardens. The Japanese style villa has a tea room – why not sit down on the veranda and have a bowl of fresh Matcha green tea while admiring the garden?

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eBook coming…

Directions

How to get there
Murin-an is in the neighborhood of Nanzen-ji and Heian-jingu shrine in eastern Kyoto. It is situated south of the Kyoto Zoo. Take the city bus number 5, 57, 32 or 100 to Doubutsu-en-mae (動物園前 – Kyoto Zoo). When you get off the bus, walk south and cross the bridge, then go to your left, in eastern direction, following the Niōmon-dori (仁王門通り). Before Niōmon makes a right turn, there is a really small street to your right. Turn into that street and you will find a Murin-an’s small entrance gate to your left.

Opening hours
Apr. – Sep. 9:00 ~ 6:00
Oct. – Mar. 9:00 ~ 5:00

Holidays:
December 29th – December 31st.

Admission
600 Yen

Address
JP: 31 南禅寺草川町、左京区 京都市 京都府 606-8437
EN: 31 Kusakawa-cho, Nanzenji, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8437

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
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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TESTIMONIAL
Since moving to Tokyo, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with many people who share my interests, particularly in the food and garden category. One of those new acquaintances is Anika, who is part of the team behind Real Japanese Gardens. After exchanging numerous emails and bonding over our mutual love of gardens (though her actual gardening knowledge far outstrips mine!), she kindly sent me a copy of one of their e-books, a guide to Koishikawa Korakuen. So early in September, with e-book in hand (or rather in iDevice), I trotted off to one of Tokyo’s most well-known metropolitan gardens to “road test” the guide.

Read more

Uncover

Japan

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
JP: 東京都文京区後楽1-6-6
EN: 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

The Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)(金閣寺 鹿苑寺)

Kinkaku-ji (the more popular name for its actual name Rokuon-ji – 鹿苑寺) is one of the most famous temples in Japan and a definite must-see on you Kyoto bucket list. The awe-inspiring sight of the richly decorated golden temple that seems to float over the mirror pond is worth a visit to Kyōto alone. In combination with the numerous islands and pine trees, it looks almost surreal.

The estate was originally constructed as a retirement pavilion by the shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397, it was turned into a Zen temple after Yoshimitsus death in 1408. During the Onin war (1467-77) the buildings and garden of Rokuon-ji faced the same fate as many other temples in Kyōto – they were completely destroyed by fire. Fortunately the pavilion survived the fire and the rest of the garden was restored. In 1950 the pavilion was burnt down by a young novice monk and needed to be rebuild in 1955. It was rebuilt very close to the original, although more parts of the pavilion received a leaf gold coating on the inside and outside.

The garden is an extraordinary example of a Japanese strolling garden of the Muromachi period. A path leads around the pond, offering great viewing axes and photo spots to take beautiful pictures of the temple.

If you come early, you can avoid the crowds, but have to share the garden with school children of all ages from all over Japan. A visit usually takes between 30 and 50 minutes. You can also have a cup of Matcha tea and traditional Japanese sweet (Wagashi 和菓子) in the garden.

Contents
  • Introduction
  • Historical Background
  • History of the Temple and the Garden
  • Buildings and Garden
  • Jenny’s impressions
  • Questions for Hayano-San
  • Eating and Drinking
  • Directions

11 pages
19 illustrations
17 MB
2012


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Directions

How to get there
Bus: Take the bus 101 or 205 and get off at the stop ’Kinkaku-ji’. From Tokyo Station it takes around 40 minutes and costs 220 yen.
Subway: Take the Karasuma line to Kitaō-ji station. From there you can take a taxi (10min and 900 yen) or the bus 101, 102, 204 or 205 (10 min, 220 yen).

Address EN: 〒603-8231, Kyoto-Shi, Kita-Ku, Kinkaku-ji-Chō 1
Address JP: 〒603-8361, 京都府京都市 北区 金閣寺町1
Tel: 075-461-0013

Admission
400 yen

Opening hours
9:00am to 5:00pm

Katsura Rikyū(桂離宮)

The Katsura Rikyū or Katsura Imperial Palace (also known under the name Katsura Detached Palace), has been built for Prince Toshihito in the early Edo period. Since the prince was very well read, the gardens feature many references to the Japanese classic “Tale of the Genji”. The architecture and the gardens of the palace are remarkable. There used to be five tea houses in the garden, of which four remain until today. The tea houses and the Old, Middle and New Shoin (drawing room, study room) are exquisite examples of Japanese architecture.

The garden features a large variety of decorative features like stone lanterns, gates, hand washing basins and different styles of laid paths, stepping stone paths and Japanese garden fences.

This eBook features the famous Ishi-doro or stone lanterns of Katsura Rikyu.

Contents:
  • Introduction to stone lanterns (石燈籠)
  • Introduction to the Katsura Imperial Palace (桂離宮)
  • Stone lanterns along the garden paths:
  • Ball-shape lantern – Mari-gata Tōrō (毬形灯籠)
  • Stone lantern – Ishi-dōrō (石燈篭)
  • Water-firefly lantern –
  • Mizubotaru-dōrō (水蛍燈篭)
  • Christian lanterns – Kirishitan-dōrō (キリシタン燈籠)
  • Snow-viewing lantern – Yukimi-dōrō (雪見燈籠)
  • Triangle lantern – Sankaku-dōrō (三角燈籠)
  • Three-lights lantern – Sankō-dōrō (三光燈籠)
  • Buried stone lanterns – Ikekomi-dōrō (活け込み燈籠)
  • Oribe stone lanterns (織部燈籠)

8 pages with
25 pictures about the stone lanterns of the Katsura Rikyu garden.



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Directions

Katsura Rikyu is located in Kyoto’s west. The easiest way to get there is to take the Kyoto City bus 33 from Kyoto station and get off at the “Katsura Rikyu mae” bus stop. You can also take the Hankyu Kyoto train until Katsura station and walk from there in 15 minutes in eastern direction.

Address
JP: 〒615-8014 京都府京都市西京区桂御園
EN: Katsuramisono, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 615-8014

Admission
Reservation required at the Imperial Household Agency. Same-day reservations are ok. A contingent of tickets is available each day from 11 am on a first come first-served basis.
http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/guide/katsura.html

1000 Yen Admission fee. Only visitors above 12 years are allowed.

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

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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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.