Today’s itinerary was to visit one of Japan’s three finest landscape gardens.
Kairakuen is located in Mito, the capital of Ibaraki Prefecture, one hour northeast of Tokyo by limited express train.
It is known as one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan, along with Kenrokuen in Kanazawa City and Korakuen in Okayama City.
The staircase that leads to the main gate…
At the top of the stairs is this temple…
Quick ice cream before going in…
Admission is free.
This is what welcomes you inside. The grass would have been green if we came during summer or spring.
The name “Kairakuen” comes from a saying within The Book of Mencius which states, “The ancients would share the pleasures with people, so their pleasures would be hearty and deep.”
It literally means a “park that can be enjoyed together” or “a garden for everyone’s pleasure.”
Tokugawa Nariaki, the ninth feudal lord of the Mito clan who ruled the region (present day Ibaraki prefecture) until about 130 years ago, constructed the garden to share the enjoyment of flowers with the people.
It was built not only for the feudal lords or feudal warriors but also for the commoners, thus making it one of Japan’s first ever public gardens.
The design incorporates characteristics from modern parks as well as a formal Japanese landscape gardens.
Located on a hill, it commands a breathtaking view of beautiful forests and lakes.
PLUM TREES & CHERRY BLOSSOMS
Kairakuen is particularly popular during the plum blossom season which usually takes place from late February through March.
The garden features a forest of 3000 trees of over 100 different plum tree varieties with white, pink and red blossoms.
We were there on November so this is what we got…
Still, it was breathtaking for me. I can just imagine what it would be like in full bloom.
The Kobuntei is a historic three-story wooden building where the lord of Mito would host parties composing Japanese poetry and events to entertain the old.
Admission is charged to enter Kobuntei. Sadly, we didn’t have the chance to go inside and see the views from the top floors.
Everything was picturesque! From extensive bamboo groves, cedar trees to wooden gates.
The garden is known for its cherry blooms in spring, azaleas and wisteria in early summer, and bush clover (hagi) blossoms in the autumn.
Look at all those mix of colors! Click to enlarge photos.
Strolling around the garden was an emotional detoxification for me. Breathing in its historical importance and walking through the scenic lawns made me want to forgive all the evils of the world.
If given a longer time to stay it would have been perfect to just sit, think and write.
3 TRAVEL TIPS
- Get a free map from the entrance so you can plan your walk and go to all the highlights.
2. Bring some light snacks that you can have while gazing at the view from the top of the hill.
3. Go early in the morning so you can maximize the peace and quiet.
Words in italics are not mine and are taken from these helpful sites:
|The flight||Sick and stuck in Mito|
|The arrival||The Kairakuen Garden|
|Memorial Sunday||Lake Senba (Senbako Lake)|
|Travel to Mito, Iberaki||Life in Mito|
|Review: Mito Riverside Hotel||A day in Ueno Tokyo|