Exploring Japan Our Slice of Tokyo

Reminiscing: The Fascinating Sankeien Garden

One of the admirable things I love about Japan is the people’s passion for gardens. It has been part of the culture, traditions, and everyday life of the people. And since we have a long holiday at the moment because of Golden Week, my husband and I decided to go to Yokohama to visit the Sankeien Garden. It has been seven years since I last visited this garden but its beauty is simply awesome.

Considered as one of the best gardens in Japan, the garden captures the hearts of its visitors with its magnificent pond, beautiful landscape, and historical buildings. It used to be a private garden of a rich silk trader, Sankei Hara, and then was opened to the public in 1904.

As we enter the garden, we were welcomed by a picturesque big pond as the center attraction of the garden. On the opposite side, were small louts and water lily ponds. Lotus plants were just about to grow while white lilies start to beautify the garden.

The main pond of Sankeien Garden welcomes the visitors with a great landscape and view of the pagoda
Beautifully sculptures pine trees were scattered within the garden

And because it is Golden Week, some historical buildings were open to the public. We were able to enter several tea houses, the main hall, and the inner garden. Walking inside the buildings gave us a better perspective of the garden as if we were back in time when the teahouses and halls were still in use.

The Gomon gate (a tangible cultural property designated by Yokohama City) was originally located in Saihoji of Higashimaya in Kyoto during the Edo Period (early 1700s).
The walls of Rinshunkaku, a villa of the first feudal lord of the Kishu Tokugawa clan in Wakayama Prefecture. The villa was built in 1649 and was moved to Sankeien Garden in 1917.
View of the inner garden from the corridors of Rinshunkaku

After an hour or so we made a quick rest in one of the benches facing the main pond. While eating our bento (packed lunch), we enjoyed watching the kids and the adults having fun feeding the big carps and turtles. One of the garden’s stores sell bread sticks for the fishes.

Is this for feeding or killing the fishes? Kids and adults enjoying their time with the kois and turtles at the main pond.

Some parts of the garden are uphill so it was also a good opportunity for some brief hiking. The sound of the bamboos dancing with the wind as well as the water flowing small streams gave us a refreshing and relaxing feeling. We also went to up to Shokukaku Observatory  and to the three-storey Pagoda of the old Tomyoji Temple, the oldest wooden pagoda in Kanto region.

Water from the mountains brought to the ponds and gardens through these small streams
Bamboo groves reminds me of the rural areas back home
Our hiking path going to the observatory and three-storey pagoda
The three-storey Pagoda of Old Tomyoji: the oldest wooden pagoda in Kanto region

On our way back to the main gate, we passed by the outer garden where we saw some apricot trees that were used as models for Yokoboshi, one of the masterpieces by a famous Japanese artist Kanzan Shimomura.

The dragon-like patterns of the apricots were the inspiration of Kanzan Shimomura for one of his masterpieces




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