Last Updated on 27/03/2021 by secretmoona
Traditional Japanese gardens are built to create a relaxing environment. Just a simple stroll through the tranquil garden makes people feel refreshed. Expansive lawns, soothing sounds of flowing water, tea pavilions, lanterns and pagodas: the magical beauty of Japanese gardens have inspired the creation of numerous gardens in and outside of Japan. Luckily, you don’t have to travel to Japan to experience their beauty since most big cities around the world have at least one Japanese botanical garden.
To help you discover them, here are 27 must-see Japanese gardens you can explore outside of Japan. They have all been visited by amazing travel bloggers from around the world. These remarkable gardens are not only beautiful, they also respect the fundamental principles and philosophy of Japanese gardens.
Japanese gardens in America
Seattle Japanese Garden, US
By Tanya from Travels and Treasures
Located in the thriving metropolis of Seattle, also known as the Emerald City, is the green and lush Seattle Japanese Garden. Situated in the Washington Park Arboretum, you can enjoy the garden at your own pace, or join a guided tour to learn its history and horticulture.
Spring is the perfect time of year to visit as blossoms return. Guests of the garden will admire traditional features like a pagoda, water lilies, lanterns, bridges, koi ponds, bonsai, and occasional ducks. The winding path creates a lovely stroll while appreciating the fantastic thing about blooming plant life. By design, traditional Japanese plant materials were installed and co-mingled with plans that are native to the Pacific Northwest. Autumn is also a great time to visit for vibrant colored foliage.
There are many picturesque spots for photos. The winding path and benches invite us to view the garden slowly and mindfully and celebrate the essence of nature.
Admission ranges from $4 to $8, and it’s free for all on the first Thursday of each month. However, tickets must be reserved in advance due to limited capacity. Parking is free, but it fills quickly during peak hours. Nonetheless, the garden is serene and a nice getaway from the bustling city of Seattle.
Japanese Friendship Garden – Phoenix, US
By Sam from My Flying Leap
Ro Ho En is a 3.5-acre authentic Japanese garden located in the heart of Phoenix, Arizona. People can tour this serene garden, and educational tours are offered for those who want to learn more. Visiting the Japanese Friendship Garden is a top thing to do in Phoenix.
The Japanese Friendship Garden was built as a result of a joint project between Phoenix and its sister city in Japan, Himeji. This partnership between these cities started back in 1976 and included cultural and educational exchanges.
This beautiful Phoenix garden offers a tranquil and lush setting with lots of mature trees and many beautiful pine trees. You’ll also see a large Koi pond with over 300 fish, stone footbridges, lanterns, and a lovely 12-foot waterfall. There is even an authentic tea house that offers enchanting ceremonies. And a special treat is a statue of Shachi, a mythical ferocious fish of Japan, acting as a charm to guard against fire.
Ro Ho En is the perfect place for a break from the Phoenix sun. It’s hard to believe you’re actually in the middle of the desert when you visit. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings, the sounds of the waterfall, feed the Koi, and just breathe in the calm.
The Japanese Friendship Garden, San Diego – US
By Julie from Family Travel Lifestyle
San Diego’s Balboa Park is a can’t-miss part of any trip to San Diego, and is home to over a dozen museums and gardens. One of the most beautiful is the Japanese Friendship Garden. Built in 1991, this lush expanse celebrates the friendship between San Diego and its sister city Yokohama. In addition to acres of greenery, winding paths and footbridges, an exquisite tea pavilion sits high on a hill overlooking the rest of the garden. As a cultural center, the Japanese Friendship garden hosts festivals, exhibitions of artifacts and a collection of bonsai trees. On any given day visitors might find art classes, poetry readings or cultural talks. The garden itself is quite large and it’s easy to spend a few hours wandering through the different groves or along the koi pond. It’s particularly lovely during cherry blossom season in March and April.
Admission to the garden is $12, with discounts for students, senior and military. Children 6 and under are free, and tickets can be purchased ahead of time online. The website also has a visitor’s guide as well as a guide for visitors with special needs.
Lili’uokalani Gardens, Hawaii
By Sarah from CosmopoliClan
Fringing scenic Hilo Bay on Big Island Hawaii is Lili’uokalani Gardens. It was named after the Hawaiian Queen who had this piece of land transformed into a Japanese Garden as a tribute to the Japanese immigrants who helped develop the agriculture on Hawaii Island. Lili’uokalani Gardens is mostly designed in Japanese Edo-style and features arched bridges, koi ponds, torii, pagodas, meandering trails, stone lanterns and even a Japanese teahouse. The grass is lush and green thanks to the tropical climate of Hawaii Island’s windward coast.
Admission to Lili’uokalani Gardens is free, and the park is open year-round. Its sheltered east-coast position makes it a magical place to watch the sunrise over Hilo Bay and the Mokuola islet (Coconut Island). The Japanese Garden is located next to iconic Banyan drive and just steps away from historic Hilo town, a perfect getaway to some of the best things to do on the Big Island of Hawaii.
The Butchart Gardens – Victoria, Canada
By Lori from Fitz5 on the go
Butchart Gardens, just outside beautiful Victoria, Canada, is over 100 years old and attracts more than 1 million visitors a year. This amazing complex is divided into several garden areas, including Butchart’s famous sunken garden, rose garden, Italian Garden, Mediterranean Garden and a large Japanese Garden. Butchart routinely makes lists as one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
The Japanese garden consists of meandering paths, 1 acre of landscaped land, 200 meters of flowing streams, 74 Japanese maples, and 500 rhododendrons and azaleas. The entrance is marked by a Torii gate, and numerous Japanese bridges cross the water. The garden was commissioned in 1907 by garden designer Isaburo Kishida of Yokohama and continues
to have an authentic feel. Fall and Spring both bring bursts of colour at all times of the year, bringing tranquillity to a walk in this garden. Butchart is such a relaxing place and a photographer’s dream.
The Huntington – San Marino, US
By Sophie from We Dream a of Travel
The Japanese Garden in The Huntington, Los Angeles, is perhaps the most beautiful part of these botanical gardens. Completed in 1912 and opened to the public in 1928, they have long been a popular attraction and should be on everyone’s Los Angeles bucket list.
At the heart of the Japanese Garden is the fully-furnished Japanese House. Elements of this traditional structure were created in Japan in 1904, and it remains one of the best examples of early 20th century Japanese architecture in the US.
There is also an authentic Japanese ceremonial teahouse called Seifu-an (the Arbor of Pure Breeze), which was built in the 1960s in Kyoto. The teahouse is located within a traditionally landscaped tea garden. Within this beautiful scene, you can also see demonstrations of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
In addition, you can find many other features, including the distinctive moon bridge, koi-filled ponds, the Zen Garden, authentic ceremonial teahouse, and bonsai collection. These beautiful gardens provide a tranquil and almost magical escape from the hustle and bustle of the nearby city.
Montreal Botanical Garden – Quebec, Canada
By Emma from Emma’s Roadmap
The most beautiful Japanese garden to be found in Canada is the one located in Montreal. This Canadian city is home to a wonderful botanical garden which also has a Japanese section! After a short ride on the subway from the city centre, you’ll be able to enjoy this special place.
In this Japanese garden, you can find a magnificent collection of carefully crafted Bonsai trees, some only a few decades but others a few centuries old and crafted by different artists. Next to the Koi fish, also pay attention to the “bell of peace”, which is hanging outside the pavilion and symbolizes the friendship between the city of Hiroshima and the city of Montréal.
Inside the pavilion, you’ll be immersed in the Japanese culture, seeing everyday artefacts and reading about the Japanese culture, as the place is like a mini-museum. You can also admire the Japanese zen garden and, at the same time, listen to how the creator carefully crafted this magical place. Of course, also take a walk around the garden outside and enjoy Japanese flora and fauna!
Portland Japanese Garden – Portland, US
By Chrysoula from Travel Passionate
The Japanese Gardens are a must in any Portland itinerary. Situated in an area of 5.5 acres in Washington Park, they have mountains as a magnificent backdrop. The gardens are intricately designed with a variety of plants, shrubs, trees, and waterfalls. They engulf you in serenity and are perfect for relaxation or meditation.
At the top of the hill stands the Cultural Centre where you can enjoy Japanese art, learn about the culture of tea or wearing the kimono and learn about flower arranging. Melodic background music is provided by the koto – Japanese harp- or shakuhachi- Japanese flute. The Umami Café serves the finest Japanese tea with an array of delicious delicacies. The Portland Japanese Gardens is open Thursday – Mondays 10.00- 15.30
The Japanese Garden, Hatley Castle – Victoria, Canada
By Dean and Laynni from Routinely Nomadic
One of the most iconic buildings in British Columbia, Hatley Castle, features a commanding location looking across Esquimalt Lagoon and the Juan de Fuca Strait all the way to the Olympic Mountains of Washington. Built in 1908 by a coal baron and former Premier James Dunsmuir, the castle cost $C23 million to build (in today’s dollars). Along with extravagant architecture, it features three impressive gardens – Japanese, Italian and Rose.
The Hatley Castle Japanese Garden is an oasis of calm among century-old cherry trees and maples that were imported all the way from Japan back in 1909. The placid lake was completed in 1919 and is surrounded by picturesque Shirotae flowering cherries, azaleas, primroses and pink pearl rhododendrons. There are beautiful walking trails throughout the garden leading to a series of gorgeous pavilions, and trout are sometimes spotted leaping from the water. You are also likely to see resident peacocks, herons, Canada geese, a variety of ducks and even the occasional turtle. The garden is free to visit and is open daily from 12-4 pm.
Japanese Tea Garden – San Francisco, US
By Caroline from Pictures and Words
Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is the Japanese Tea Garden, the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States. The garden is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco, becoming a favourite stop for visitors around the world.
The Japanese Tea Garden was originally built for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition, intended to be part of a “Japanese Village” exhibit. When the event ended, an agreement was reached between Japanese landscape architect Makoto Hagiwara and superintendent John McLaren, allowing for the creation of a permanent Japanese garden.
The five-acre garden has many beautiful classic Japanese garden elements, including a vibrant five-story pagoda; an impressive Drum Bridge, intended to reflect a circle; a tranquil waterfall; and a traditional tea house, a perfect spot to relax with a cup of tea while taking in the gorgeous scenery. The Japanese Tea Garden is especially beautiful in the spring, when the cherry blossoms bloom, and in the fall when the foliage turns into gorgeous shades of red.
Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens – Lethbridge, Canada
By Mary from Life Full of Light
The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens are located in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. Like many Japanese Gardens, the theme of Nikka Yuko is friendship, peace, and tranquillity. Nikka Yuko was built as a symbol of friendship between Canada and Japan. A large bronze bell hangs in the garden, symbolising that friendship. While you listen to it ring, enjoy the view of the peaceful Henderson Lake that sits adjacent to the garden.
Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens has many interesting examples of Japanese architecture and culture. A symbolic well in the forest of the gardens is the source of pure water for the traditional tea ceremonies held here.
The garden was designed to reflect the mountains and prairies of Lethbridge landscapes in an abstract way. The rocks carried from the nearby mountains were all positioned with care, whether they form islands in the ponds, rest under the trees, or make up the dry garden near the teahouse.
If you visit this incredibly beautiful province of Canada, you won’t want to miss the relaxing, peaceful landscapes of Lethbridge. Whether you’re exploring the majestic mountains, vast prairies, or expertly designed Japanese gardens, Lethbridge is a must-see destination.
The Huntington – California, US
By Alanna from Periodic Adventures
In Pasadena, California, is The Huntington, which is one of the most incredible things to do in Los Angeles as it’s a library, art museum, and botanical gardens. It has many gardens reflective of international ecosystems, but the Japanese Garden is arguably the best. In the Japanese Garden, which opened in 1928, you’ll see the beautiful moon bridge, koi ponds, cherry blossoms, and historic buildings.
The Japanese House has five rooms that were created in Japan and shipped to the gardens in Southern California. There is also a Ceremonial Teahouse, which was built in Kyoto, Japan and donated to The Huntington. Today, you can watch a traditional Japanese tea ceremony demonstration. Don’t miss the bonsai collection and zen court, which has hundreds of bonsai trees. The patterns created in the zen court represent abstract ideas. You may recognize the Japanese Garden from popular TV shows and films as well, such as The Good Place, Westworld, and Iron Man 2.
Mytoi Japanese Garden – Edgartown, US
By Shobha from Martha’s Vineyard Tourist
Mytoi Gardens is a small Japanese garden on the island of Chappaquiddick, which is part of Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a delightful unexpected surprise on an island that is otherwise pure New England Americana. Started over 50 years ago, Mytoi Garden is now run and maintained by the Trustees of the Reservations. The garden was a donation from the original owner to the Trustees in 1976. Volunteers help with the garden as well. The admission price is a donation to the garden.
Mytoi is a natural landscape with trees, meandering paths and a pond with koi fish. Sadly, the koi have a limited life span because they are picked off by the birds and animals on the island, like the osprey nesting nearby. It has a stillness that is very Japanese and lots of shade which is a nice break from the summer sun and fun of the beach nearby. The garden is split into garden rooms, ensuring privacy and peace. After the impact of Hurricane Bob in 1991, which destroyed 70% of the planting, the garden had to be redesigned again. It was redesigned by a landscape garden team who helped design the Japanese garden at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden – New York, USA
By Daphne from A Tiny Trip
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is one of the most special destinations in New York City. It is an oasis of tranquillity and natural beauty in the loud urban environment of central Brooklyn. One of the best outdoor activities in Brooklyn is visiting the Japanese Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Also called the Japanese Hill and Pond Garden, this is one of the oldest Japanese inspired gardens in the United States! It is beautiful year-round, but especially in the spring during the blossoming of the cherry blossoms!
As you enter the area of the Japanese Garden, you are transported to another world. Stand on the platform over the pond to see if you spot any fish. Then take a walk along the path surrounding the pond. You will go over small hills and cross a quaint wooden bridge. There is a small Shinto shrine and a waterfall to round out this perfect garden stroll.
Jardín Japonés – Buenos Aires, Argentina
By Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
The Jardin Japones of Buenos Aires is one of the most beautiful Japanese Gardens in the world. The park was donated by the Embassy of Japan in 1967 during an imperial family visit. Over the years, the garden has come to be known as “little Japan in Argentina.”
The park is a mixture of natural and manmade items – delighting visitors all year long. It’s one of the best things to do in Buenos Aires. Enjoy the cherry blossoms in July (since Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere, they bloom later in the year); ginkgo Biloba leaves in Autumn, and gigantic azaleas in September!
Currently, the park is open every day from 10 am to 6:45 pm, with four different visiting shifts throughout the day. Visitors are required to have their temperature taken before a tour and wear a mask for the duration.
Japanese gardens in Europe
Łazienki Park – Warsaw, Poland
By Raluca from Travel With A Spin
Warsaw itself is a surprisingly pleasant city, with a mix of elements from different styles and ages. One of the jewels that contribute to this is Łazienki Park, the Royal Park of the Polish capital. It used to be the summer residence of Stanislaw August, the last king of Poland. Nowadays, everyone can take a stroll in it and enjoy fresh air, beautiful palaces and unique views.
Coming across a bit of Japan is a real surprise when you walk around the huge Łazienki Park. Even if pretty small, the Japanese Garden is a hidden gem with pagodas, small waterfalls, oriental shrubs and narrow bridges. It is a delightful surprise. Hundreds of plants, trees, bushes and the occasional friendly squirrels allow people to escape from the stresses of daily life.
As with many typical Asiatic gardens, it has at its centre a small teahouse, from which the garden can be viewed and appreciated. Other symbolic elements are a small pond, a bridge, stone arrangements and ornaments. Its serene and picturesque alleys are a joy year-round, but they really shine in autumn, when the garden is invaded by colours.
Compton Acres – Poole, UK
By Izzy from The Gap Decaders
Deep in the English seaside town of Poole is Compton Acres, an unlikely setting for a privately owned garden on a grand scale. This horticultural treasure is one of the finest gardens in the south of England and is a must-stop on any road trip in the UK. Founded in 1920 by Thomas Simpson, a margarine millionaire, the gardens are set over ten acres and look out across Poole Harbour.
One of the jewels of Compton Acres is the Japanese Garden, which reflects Thomas Simpson’s love of Japanese culture and is considered one of the finest in the UK. With genuine artefacts and landscaping materials sourced from Japan, the garden remains true to his vision. With a deep red Japanese tea house and its distinctively shaped roof, surrounded by Japanese maples, wisteria and cherries, the garden is incredibly evocative. Add the colourful Koi Carp, magnificent hostas and grasses, and it is easy to imagine you’re in Japan itself as you cross the pond over the stepping stones to the tea house.
Rivington Terraced Gardens – Lancashire, England
By Jenni from Cruise Mummy
The Japanese Garden is part of Rivington Terraced Gardens in Lancashire, England. It was built in 1922, conceived and financed by local soap magnate Lord Leverhulme, one of Unilever’s founders. The area was designed to be a holiday resort for workers of the soap factory.
The Japanese Garden was originally surrounded by Japanese tea houses, lanterns and exotic plants. Over the years, the area fell into disrepair but has recently been restored, and Japanese trees and shrubs have been re-planted.
Rivington Terraced Gardens are a must-see for anyone visiting the north-west of England. The area is a magical maze of hidden paths, bridges and ancient buildings with magnificent views. It’s free to visit, and there are lots of signs explaining the fascinating history of each landmark.
Japanese Gardens at the Irish National Stud, Ireland
By Cath from Travel Around Ireland
One of the most beautiful Japanese Gardens is the one located at the Irish National Stud in County Kildare, just a 45-minute drive from the centre of Dublin. Laid out by a Japanese horticulturist and his son in the early 1900s, these gardens are a must-visit.
The gardens are located adjacent to the Irish National Stud and are a tranquil place to visit. Planned to symbolise the “Life of Man”, the gardens take you through a journey symbolising life, from ‘birth’ in a cave, through various paths, stepping stones and on to the hill of mourning.
Throughout the gardens, you will find common plants and trees found in Japan, seamlessly entwined with native plants and shrubs. There are several water features, a Japanese tea house, pagodas and a beautiful red bridge crossing the stream. Visit in autumn, and you will be treated to a kaleidoscope of autumn colours from the Japanese acers.
What makes it a must-see is that they are unique among the tourist gardens in Ireland. Coupled that with the fact you can combine your visit with one to the Irish National Stud and these make for a great day out.
Kyoto Garden – London, UK
By Jiayi from The Diary of a Nomad
Kyoto Garden is a stunning Japanese garden located inside Holland Park in London, UK. While most tourists flock to the nearby Notting Hill neighbourhood, Holland Park is still relatively unknown — making Kyoto Garden one of the most underrated spots in the city. If you’re a fan of waterfalls, colourful foliage, and carps, Kyoto Garden might just be the perfect place to spend a relaxing afternoon in. Though it’s not a big garden, it’s filled with beauty in every corner.
Walking around, you’ll come across tons of Japanese maple trees next to charming mini waterfalls. In the middle of the garden, there’s also a large pond with stone lanterns scattered around and fish swimming inside.As you can imagine, this garden is very photogenic, so be sure to bring some good camera gear — such as some of these lenses for the Nikon D3100 — if you want to capture it from different angles and perspectives.
The atmosphere inside the garden is very peaceful and serene. It’s the perfect place to take a relaxing stroll or to simply sit down with a book. Make a note of Holland Park’s opening hours if you don’t want to miss this unique place. The park is open daily starting at 7:30 am and closes half an hour before dusk.
Monet’s Japanese Garden – Giverny, France
By Elisa from World in Paris
Monet’s Garden in Giverny, Normandy, is a must-see in France. The small town of Giverny is located 67 km north-west of Paris. It is very easy to reach by public transportation or with a guided tour. For Monet, the garden was a passion and a source of artistic inspiration for almost 30 years,. He employed a big team of gardeners to get the most out of it. The garden is vast, and it is divided into different areas and atmospheres. The Japanese Garden, however, is the most popular, and it contains the ponds with the water lilies, a Japanese bridge, and several willow trees.
Japanese Art was very popular in France in the 19th century. People liked to buy Japanese stamps because they represented a world of exoticism and mystery. French artists like Monet used it as a source of inspiration. Monet painted the Japanese Garden and bridge in many of his masterworks. He liked to show the bridge at different times of the day and also through the seasons.
Monte Palace Madeira – Funchal, Madeira
By Gabi from Under Flowery Sky
Japanese garden at Madeira finds its place above Funchal inside the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. Actually, the name of the village is Monte and can easily be reached by cable car or bus. Its existence from 1991. grew into an exquisite place full of charm. The founder of Monte Palace Gardens, José Berardo, was enchanted by the beauty and way of life in Japan during his trip and the influence of Portugal over the Orient.
Monte Palace Garden holds an incredible collection of tiles that speak the history of Portugal. Once a luxury hotel, it is now a huge garden filled with exotic plants and animals like swans, peacocks, chicken and ducks. An African exhibition can even be seen.
Japanese garden itself is a fabulous world that absorbs a complete transition of another culture. Here can be seen pagoda, traditional torii gates, big Buddha and few ponds and bridges. A breathtaking view over Funchal is included.
Japanese Garden Pierre Baudis – Toulouse, France
By Mayi from SecretMoona
France has a love affair with gardens. The country is full of gardens of all kinds, including stunning Japanese gardens. The Pierre-Baudis Japanese Garden, located in the heart of Toulouse, is a 10-hectare park inviting people to escape and relax. Designed by Pierre Baudis in 1981, the garden is a perfect replica of a Kyoto-style garden. Visiting the Jardin Japonais is one of the top things to do in Toulouse. The garden is full of greenery, complete with a koi pond, a zen garden, a tea pavilion, cherry trees and an iconic red bridge. The pavilion has been transformed into a museum where visitors can learn about the garden and particularly Japanese culture. A stroll there takes visitors on a quick trip to Japan!
Peasholm Park – Scarborough, UK
by Jasmine from The Life of a Social Butterfly
Peasholm Park is a Grade II listed Oriental-themed park located in the heart of Scarborough’s North Bay. The park opened to the public in 1912, bringing Eastern charm to Scarborough, Britain’s oldest seaside town. Inspired by a mythical tale of love, a beautiful cascading waterfall is the main centrepiece of the park; transporting visitors to a Japanese garden. This peaceful park is teeming with wildlife: dragonflies skimming the lake and squirrels peeking through the park’s rare Champion trees. Not to mention the swan, and indeed, dragon boats lining the lake.
The best thing is Peasholm Park is free to enter and is open 24 hours a day, enabling visitors to walk the tree-lined trails any time of day. To truly experience the best of Peasholm Park, be sure to visit before 5 pm to use the boating lake and to experience the most magical areas of the park.
Peasholm Island is accessed via a wooden bridge leading up to a Japanese pagoda and pond filled with koi carp. Magnificent views can be seen from the mouth of the waterfall and circular archway, which perfectly frames the pagoda. With breathtaking scenes of willows sighing over arched bridges and cherry blossoms, Peasholm Park offers plenty of things to do in Scarborough.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – Richmond, UK
From Joanna from The World in My Pocket
Kew Gardens is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the UK. It covers an area of over 300 acres. Located in Richmond, Kew Gardens is an oasis of relaxation, a beautiful day trip from the hustle and bustle of London. There are so many collections at Kew, with gardens and greenhouses displaying plants from all over the world. One of the most peaceful places to see when you visit Kew Gardens is the Chokushi-Mon & Japanese Landscape, located near the Great Pagoda, which has just been refurbished.
The Japanese Landscape is meant to be a place that united peace, harmony and activity, resembling a traditional Japanese tea garden. The Chokushi-Mon is a replica of a Karamon Gate of the Nishi Hongan-ji Temple in Kyoto and was built for the Japan-British Exhibition in 1910. It was later gifted to Kew Gardens after the exhibition finished. The gate features beautiful carvings of animals, plants, and figures.Below the gate, there is a gravel landscape, raked so that it displays elements from nature such as the flow of water.
Calderstones – Liverpool, UK
By Emma from Journey Of A Nomadic Family
Calderstones Park is a public park in Liverpool in the UK. Home to ancient megaliths older than Stonehenge and the extraordinary Allerton Oak (over 1000 years old), the 126-acre park has a variety of attractions, including a botanical garden, a lake full of ducks and geese, the Calderstones Mansion House, a play area and several ornamental gardens.
The Japanese Garden is contained within a red-brick walled kitchen-garden which conjures images of quiet secrecy and contains botanical collections from Japan, a small pond with a paved area and the opening of a mock Japanese temple front. It was first created in 1970, and its beauty remains behind elaborately detailed iron railings. The best time to visit this small & serene garden is in October when the Japanese maple trees are in full red & gold bloom, and the petite, manicured trees are full of green leaves.
Japanese gardens in Oceania
Cowra Japanese Garden, Australia
By Shandos from Travelnuity: Dog-Friendly Travel
If you were to guess at the location of the largest Japanese garden in the Southern Hemisphere, you’d be very unlikely to guess Cowra, a small country town in Australia, 4 hours drive west of Sydney. However, as a symbol of the growing friendship between Japan and the town, the site of an infamous Prisoner of War Camp during World War II, the Cowra Japanese Garden was established in the 1970s.
A strolling garden, the garden’s design incorporates a “mountain”, a waterfall, rocks and a lake, as well as teahouse and cultural centre. While many Japanese plant species are used throughout, including a collection of cherry trees that delightfully blossom in spring, it’s hard to ignore the Australian eucalypts that also dot the site.
After taking a stroll through the garden, enjoy lunch or coffee and cake at the adjacent cafe overlooking the garden. It’s also worthwhile visiting the Japanese War Cemetery and former P.O.W. campsite while in Cowra.
Hamilton Gardens, New Zealand
By Nadine from Le Long Weekend
Hamilton is home to internationally acclaimed gardens, and one of the many reasons they are so popular is their unique layout which offers fantastic collections of themed gardens. Within one of these collections – the paradise collection – is the beautiful Japanese Garden of Contemplation. Designed to be a peaceful and contemplative spot, its simple design aligns perfectly with nature. A small Japanese style hut sits between the karesansui (dry ‘zen’ stone garden) and the scroll garden, which features a pond, bonsai trees and often, visiting doves.
It’s a wonderful spot to rest in nature, appreciate the serenity, and get a tiny glimpse of a traditional Japanese landscape. Combine your visit with a tour of the rest of the collections within the Hamilton Gardens – as one of New Zealand’s top attractions, and they can easily keep you spellbound for hours. If you’re not planning on staying in Hamilton, they can also be visited as an easy day trip from Auckland, Rotorua, or Tauranga.
Hobart Japanese Garden, Tasmania – Australia
By Angela from Where Angie Wanders
Tasmania in Australia has one of the best botanical gardens in the world and is located in the capital city of Hobart.
The gardens are set in 14-acres with some of the planting dating back to the 1800s. There are dedicated sections in the gardens highlighting planting from other continents including plants from the barren Antarctica to palms and blooms associated with the warm climate of the Mediterranean.
One of the most beautiful parts of the garden is undoubtedly the Japanese Garden with its trickling waterfalls leading into ponds covered in lily-pads and full of coi carp – the symbol of good luck and fortune in Japan. Dense planting surrounds the Asian section and a Japanese bridge and pagoda painted in the traditional lucky red colour offer a pop of colour amongst the beautiful pink magnolia, red acer and tall bamboo trees.
Several seating areas and winding stone and wooden pathways are positioned to allow the visitor a feng-shui experience of the Japanese garden and to be able to completely immerse themselves in the sensational surroundings during a visit.
Books about Japanese gardens to read:
- Japanese Gardens: Kyoto
- The Art of the Japanese Garden: History, Culture &Design
- Authentic Japanese Gardens: Creating Japanese Design and Detail in the Western Garden
- Create Your Own Japanese Garden: A Practical Guide
- Mirei Shigemori – Rebel in the Garden: Modern Japanese Landscape Architecture
Planning a trip to Japan? Check out these articles
Have you visited any of these Japanese gardens already? Let me know in the comments!
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