Japan is home to a number of parks, gardens, and other green spaces. Japanese gardens are particularly well-known for their serene setting and beautiful landscaping. Of all the gardens in Japan, just 3 are considered the most famous. These are referred to as the Three Great Gardens of Japan. This article takes a closer look at each of these gardens.
3. Kairaku-en -
Kairaku-en is located in Mito in the Ibaraki prefecture. This area was ruled over by Tokugawa Nariaki in the mid-19th century. In 1841, he commissioned the construction of this garden. Unlike other gardens, Kairaku-en was open for both the ruler and the public to enjoy.
This garden is home to a plum tree forest with over 100 types of plums growing here. While visitors will enjoy Kairaku-en year-round, plum blossoming season is one of the best times to visit for glimpses of the red, white, and pink flowers. Blossoming season generally occurs from the latter part of February through March. In addition to the forest, this garden also has a bamboo grove and cedar trees that visitors can enjoy. Visiting the gardens is free, however, entry to its Kobuntei costs 190 yen (just under $2). The Kobuntei is a building in traditional, Japanese architectural style.
2. Koraku-en -
Koraku-en is located in the city of Okayama in the Okayama prefecture. Ikeda Tsunamasa, who ruled over the area from the late 17th century to the early 18th century, commissioned its creation in 1687. The garden was finished in 1700 AD. Since then, various landscapers and gardeners have made some changes to the garden. It has held its current appearance since 1863. This garden was generally reserved for use by local rulers, their families, and their courts. It was commonly used to entertain guests. Koraku-en was opened to the public in 1884. It later suffered significant damage due to flooding in 1934 and bombing during World War II.
Today, visitors and tourists can enjoy this peaceful garden, which is now protected as a Special Scenic Location. It is located on an island in the Asahi river. Its design incorporates the Kaiyu style, or scenic promenade. This means that the walking path winds and curves through the garden; as visitors pass from one curve to the next, the scenery before them changes. Another feature of Koraku-en garden is the Marsh Pond, Sawa-no-ike, and its 3 islands. The islands are said to replicate the landscape of the Biwa Lake near Kyoto.
1. Kenroku-en -
The Kenroku-en garden is located in Kanazawa in the Ishikawa prefecture. Its creation and development have taken place over approximately 2 centuries. Many historians believe that its origins can be traced back to the Tatsumi water channel of 1632. This water channel was commissioned by Maeda Toshitsune, the ruler of that time. Others claim it originated from the Renchitei garden, which was destroyed by fire in 1759. Both of these are incorporated in the current Kenroku-en garden.
Visitors to this garden can see the original Shigure-tei tea house, built in 1725, and the Kaisekito Pagoda, built before 1759. These historic buildings survived the great fire of 1759. Kenroku-en is home to nearly 9,000 trees and 183 species of plants. The oldest water fountain in Japan can also be found here, operating by natural water pressure. Another important site is the Karasaki Pine tree, which was planted in the 13th century by Lord Nariyasu. Other interesting features include: the Flying Geese Bridge, which features 11 red stones said to represent flying geese; the Kotoji-toro, a stone lantern said to represent a bridge; and the Kaiseki Pagoda, donated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.