Shirakawa-in Garden  (白河院庭園)

The Shirakawa-in is a high-class ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) with a small but superb garden. Its history traces back to the early Heian period (794-1185), when the imperial court and the first regent of the Fujiwara clan built their villas on this ground. Later, tennō Shirakawa (1053-1129) abdicated in the age of 44 in favor of his son, became a monk and moved to the Shirakawa-in. From there he reigned as cloistered emperor behind the scenes for 41 more years.

The garden that we see today has been restored by Kogawa Jihee, a famous plantsman of the modern Japan (1860-1933). The garden is a strolling garden with a small pond. There is also a tea house in the southeastern corner. It is a wonderful secret garden, and if you happen to be in the area (Heian-jingu, Nanzen-ji), do stop by and enjoy the atmosphere.

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Directions

How to get there
Shirakawa-in is situated on the north side of the Kyoto Zoo. Take the city bus number 5, 57, 32 or 100 to Doubutsu-en-mae (動物園前 – Kyoto Zoo). From there walk north. When you can see the big Heian Shrine to your left, turn right and follow the street. Shirakawa-in is to your left side.

Address
Kyōto, Sakyō-Ku, Hōshōji-chō 16
Telephone: 075-761-0201

Admission
free

Ōhashi-ke  (大橋家庭園)

The Ōhashi-ke garden is a private garden in the traditional Fushimi Inari neighborhood in southern Kyoto. It has a special surprise for its visitors: A Suikinkutsu (水琴窟), a musical instrument in the garden. A Suikinkutsu is a jar that is buried in the earth below a water feature. This is the oldest Suikinkutsu in Kyoto. As the water trickles from the basin through a layer of gravel and into the jar, the sound of the water drops is echoed by the walls of the jar. Listening to this soothing sound is said to have a cooling effect on the listener – very welcome on Kyoto’s hot summer days.

We arrived on a sunny Sunday morning and were greeted by the white-haired Ōhashi-san, the owner of the garden. His great-grandfather Ōhashi Jinbei had the garden built in 1913 by Kyoto’s garden master Ogawa Jihee. Ogawa was the 7th generation of a family of Japanese gardeners. This tradition continues until today – every year, the 11th and 12th generation of the family work for two days with 6 to 7 people in the garden. The garden also features a great number of Japanese stone lanterns.

Contents:

Overview
Suikinkutsu – How it works
Stone lanterns of the garden
The tea house resting arbor
Other points of interest

9 pages with detailed information
43 great pictures and illustrations
16MB

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Sound of the Suikinkutsu
Watch the video here and here.

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Directions

Address
京都市伏見区深草開土町
Kyoto, Fushimi-Ku, Fukakusa, Kaidocho

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Nara line towards Joyo. Get off at the second stop, Inari. Then walk in north eastern direction to Fukakusa Kaidocho.

Admission
The Ōhashi-ke is not longer open to the public!

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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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
410 Yen
Will be raised to 600 Yen from October 1, 2019

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

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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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
500 yen

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

Tonogayato Teien  (殿ヶ谷戸庭園)

The Tonogayato Teien is a landscape garden, built between 1914 and 1916 (Taisho period) near Tokyo. It was built for the residence of the vice president of the Manchurian Railway company.In 1929, the estate was bought by a member of the Iwasaki family. Nowadays, the garden is enjoyed by young and mid-aged people, and you will probably be the only foreign visitor there.

There is a tea house on the premises that can be rented for tea ceremonies. The garden is a mixture of Japanese and European strolling garden. It is just 20 minutes by train from Shinjuku Station but feels very remote from everyday life in metropolitan Tokyo.

Contents:
Introduction
History
Buildings
The Gardens
Other Highlights
Anikas Impressions
Around Tonogayato Teien

15 pages full of information about the Tonogayato Garden
41 pictures of the gardens

PDF 20MB
mobi 25MB
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Tonogayato-teien Trailer
Watch the Tonogayato-teien trailer here.

RJG presents: Tonogayato-teien from Real Japanese Gardens on Vimeo.

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Directions

How to get there
From Shinjuku, take the Chuo line towards Kawaguchiko and get off at the fifth stop, Kokubunji (国分寺)。From there, it is only a short walk to the gardens.

Opening times
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Last entry until 4:30 p.m.

Admission
150 Yen

Address
JP: 東京都国分寺市南町二丁目
Tokyo-to, Kokubunji-shi, Minami-cho, 2 chome

Kyū-Furukawa Teien  (旧古河庭園)

The Kyū-Furukawa estate in Tokyo’s Kita-Ku has been built by Josiah Conder in 1917, the Japanese garden was designed by Ogawa Jihei. Josiah Conder was a British architect, who was invited to Japan in 1877 to teach architecture at the Imperial College of Engineering. He also wrote the Japanese garden classic ‘Landscape gardening in Japan’.

The Kyū-Furukawa garden has two main parts – the western-style villa with a beautiful rose garden in the upper part of the grounds. The lower part of the garden has a Shinji-ike (心字池), a pond shaped like the Chinese character for ‘heart’ or ‘mind’. There is also a dry waterfall, a tea house and a small stream with a 10m waterfall that feeds the pond. For 500 Yen, you can have tea and Japanese sweets in the tea house.

In autumn, when the roses are flowering (mid-October to late November), and the Japanese maples (mid-November to early December) show off their colorful foliage, the garden is especially delightful. But also in spring (late April to mid-May), the azaleas and the rose’s first flowers are in full bloom.

Contents:
Introduction
History
Buildings
The Gardens
Other Highlights
Anikas Impressions
Around Kyu-Furukawa Teien

14 pages full of information about the Kyu-Furukawa Garden
35 pictures of the gardens

PDF 14MB
mobi 23MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF and mobi.

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Directions

How to get there
The garden is 15 minutes by foot from the Komagome station (駒込駅, JR Yamanote line, Nanboku subway line). From the station, walk in northern direction.

Another option is to take the Keihin-Tohoku line to Kami-Nakazato (上中里) and walk towards the south.

Address
JP: 東京都北区西ヶ原 1-27-39
EN: 1-27-39 Nishigahara, Kita-ku, Tokyo

Telephone
03-3910-0394

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

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

Admission
150 Yen

Kyū-Asakurake House  (旧朝倉家住宅)

Shibuya is one of Tokyo’s liveliest district – and in its middle, you can find this calm residence from 1919. Asakura Torajiro, the chairman of the Tokyo council had built this house and its beautiful garden in Daikanyama.

Contents:
Introduction
History
The Main Building
Features of the Main Building
The Storehouse
The Garage
The Gardens
Garden Features
Anikas Impressions
Around the Asakura House

14 pages full of information about the Kyu-Asakura House
33 scenic pictures

PDF 12MB
mobi 23MB

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Directions

How to get there
The closest station is Daikanyama (代官山), a station of the Toyoko line (between Shibuya and Naka-meguro). Ebisu station (Yamanote line, Hibiya line) is also only a 10 minute walk away.

Opening times
March-October: 10am – 6pm (entry allowed until 5:30pm)
November-February: 10am – 4:30pm (entry allowed until 4pm)

Closed on Mondays and between December 29th and January 3rd.

Admission
100 Yen

Address
JP: 東京都渋谷区猿楽町29−20
EN: 29-20 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Telephone
03-3476-1021