In Japan, gardening is taken very seriously and considered a true art form. Millions of tourists visit the country’s gardens within Buddhist monastery walls where the gardens are used religiously by Zen monks. Most of them are found around Kyoto, the former capital. If you’re ready to get away from it all and enjoy one of the most relaxing vacations you can imagine, fly with ANA to Japan and be sure to visit these five gardens during your stay.
Hama Rikyu Garden
The Hama Rikyu Garden sits at the mouth of the Sumida River in the center of Tokyo and is by far one of the most well-known and visited gardens in the country. The garden itself is surrounded by the river on three sides and represents a real opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and take a relaxing walk through the grounds. Be sure to stop at the tea house right in the middle of a large pond in the garden and enjoy the Chanoyu tea ceremony.
Ryoanji, or the Temple of the Dragon at Peace, is a beautiful Zen temple in Kyoto and the Rouanji garden is certainly not the traditional garden most of the world is familiar with. This is the country’s most popular rock garden. These massive moss-covered rocks with racked fields of pebbles will take you back to a simpler time and even help you connect with your own inner calm. No one knows the exact meaning of the Zen garden, or rock garden, although some believe it represents mountains rising above clouds while others believe it does not symbolize anything but an abstract composition designed to aid in meditation.
If you really want to view some of the best landscaping in Japan, head to the Kenrokuen garden in Kanazawa, which is nearly four hours from the capital. Kenrokuen garden opened in 1871 and the 25-acre garden is filled with waterfalls, beautiful wooden bridges and streams plus carefully manicured trees calmly leaning over the water.
Ritsurin Koen Garden
If you’re up for a bit of a trip from Tokyo, the Ritsurin Koen garden in Takamastsu on the island of Shikoku is worth the time to visit. This magnificent Edo period garden is a breathtaking and historical piece of the country with a traditional Japanese garden in one area and a Western-style area to explore as well. Overlooking the garden is Mt. Shiun, which you’ll see as you stroll through the miles of trails.
Adachi Museum of Art Garden
Finally, the Adachi garden, built in 1980, is the recipient of numerous garden awards in the country with a unique take on the classic Japanese garden. During your visit, you’ll enjoy views of the garden from inside the building and each view is designed to look like a piece of art hung on the wall. The Adachi garden is about 2 and a half hours from Toyko but, despite being a newcomer to the always growing collection of gardens in Japan, it’s well worth the train drive.