Designing a Japanese garden is considered a form of art – and their incredible beauty testifies to this. Made for meditation, they can evoke feelings of spirituality and serenity.

Traditional Japanese gardens are famous the world over. These beautiful gardens have a quiet zen-like spirit and various feature points, such as historic houses, seasonal flowers, or a central pond.

For travellers, however, deciding which garden to visit can be overwhelming. Of the most beautiful and historic gardens in the country, the Three Great Gardens of Japan are considered to be the best.

1. Kenrokuen – Kanazawa

Kenrokuen – the “garden that combines six characteristics” – is a strolling garden that is beautiful year-round. It’s one of the few Japanese gardens that is specifically loved for its winter scenery.

The six characteristics that give the garden its name are those that are considered vital to the notion of an ideal garden – spaciousness, serenity, venerability, scenic views, subtle design, and coolness.

The garden features ponds and natural landscape features such as hills and streams, as well as structures such as pavilions and tea houses. It is a stunning example of Japanese gardening and is the best place to go for a peaceful stroll in Kanazawa.

  • Nearest Station: 15 minutes by bus from Kanazawa station. Exit: Kenrokuen exit.
  • Google Maps: Search for “Kenrokuen.”
  • Hours: 9:00 to 16:30.
  • Closed: 29 December - 3 January.

2. Korakuen – Okayama

Korakuen is the “garden of pleasure after” – a reference to a saying attributed to Confucius that explains that a wise ruler must attend to his subjects' needs first, and only then should he consider his own “pleasure after.”

The stunning garden is one of Okayama City’s most prominent attractions, with the well-preserved Okayama Castle looming in the distance and well-manicured expansive lawns. The garden also features tea houses, hills, ponds, and streams.

  • Nearest Station: 25 minutes walk/12 minutes by bus (Platform No.1) from Okayama station(JR). Exit: Korakuen exit (east).
  • Google Maps: Search for “Okayama Korakuen.”
  • Hours: 7:30am to 6:00pm (20 March - 30 September). 8:00am to 5:00pm (1 October - 29 September) daily.

3.Kairakuen – Mito

Kairakuen is “a garden to enjoy with people”. Until 1841, when the park was established, Japanese gardens were private. Kairakuen it was the first to ever be opened to the general population, setting the stage for the development of public parks in Japan.

Despite its historic and cultural significance in the country, it is famous for over three thousand plum trees and hundreds of cherry blossoms of various colours, that start blossoming in spring and create a marvelous landscape.

Nearest Station: 20 minutes by bus (Platform No. 4, 6) from Mito station (JR). Exit: North exit.

Google Maps: Search for “Kairakuen.”

Hours: 6:00am to 7:00pm (20 February - 30 September). 7:00am to 6:00pm (1 October - 19 February).

Getting to Japan

Various airlines offer daily flights from London to Tokyo Narita International Airport. The cheapest tickets are available approximately 60 days before departure, with evening flights from Gatwick offering the best prices on the route.

For a hassle-free trip to Japan, remember to pre-book a taxi or airport transfer through hoppa to get you to your accommodation. Hoppa is the world’s top specialist in smooth, reliable transportation, comparing 1,000s of transport providers from around the world to get you where you need to go. Whether at home or abroad, with choices of taxis, car hire, and airport transfers, we search and compare the best deals so you arrive happy.

Planning a trip to Japan, or do you have any favourite gardens to suggest? Let us know in the comments below.


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