Attraction Japan 〒231-0824 Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama, Naka Ward, Honmokusannotani, 58−1 Published on: 27-02-2016
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Why Sankeien Gardens is special ?
The Sankeien Garden, opened by businessman Sankei Hara in 1906 in Yokohama, is known as one of the most outstanding examples of Japanese gardens from the area, offering beautiful sceneries throughout the four seasons. With a size covering a massive 175,000 square meters, the garden is also home to an amazing 10 important cultural property buildings. The buildings were moved from locations such as Kyoto and Kamakura, and each one has an important historical and cultural heritage.
Each season brings with it entirely new colors to the park, including Ume (plum) tree blossoms, lit-up evening Sakura (cherry) tree blossom displays, moon watching parties, chrysanthemum competitions, and autumn leaves, creating breathtaking atmospheres with the view of the historical buildings.
What to explore at Sankeien Gardens?
All classical Japanese gardens are, by definition, man-made; but, built as part of the Hiroshima Airport development in 1993, here the human hand is more evident than at gardens with a longer history. That said, Sankei-en is beautifully landscaped, and if you have time to kill at Hiroshima Airport or its neighboring hotel, are in the area visiting Chuo Shinrin Koen Park, or just fancy a trip out of town, it is definitely worth an hour or so of your time.
The walk down to the park entrance via stone steps that curve between large rocks and emaculately manicured pine trees gets you in the mood; helping to put the fact that you’ve either come over from the airport or an uninspiring parking lot out of your mind.
Your first view of the garden itself is really quite impressive. The scale is quite grand and reminded me of the gardens at the Adachi Art Museum in Shimane Prefecture. These gardens are not behind glass, however, and, built in the circular walking style, are meant to be explored.
A long platform, based upon the hirabutai at Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima extends from in front of the admission booth, shops and teahouse out into a large pond, the Ō-umi, which represents the Seto Inland Sea.
There are many large and colorful koi carp swimming in the pond. Feed pellets can be purchased for ¥100 a bag, and the feeding frenzy that ensues after throwing in a handful delights children and fascinates adults in equal measure.
The Ō-umi is one of the three landscapes represented in miniature that give the the garden its name which literally means “three views”. The others are representations of mountain and country village landscapes. Many lovely plants, trees and flowers line the path that circumnavigates the pond and there are a couple of delightful bridges that cross over the water on the far side.
The garden climbs up the hillside were you will find the lovely momiji-dani (maple valley), an ume plum tree garden and the small Satono-ike pond which is backed by a large bamboo grove. Here, benches on a small patch of well-manicured grass look over the garden below. It is a nice spot, but being able to see over the garden walls out to the airport breaks the atmosphere somewhat; it is kind of cool to see a 747 taking off over a classical Japanese garden though. Paths lead further back still up either side of a narrow valley up to Sandan-no-taki falls and the trees here are gorgeous in the autumn when the leave turn fiery red.
Throughout most of the year, there are blooms, blossoms and to enjoy, and in the winter, the garden looks very impressive after a snowfall. The pamphlet available at the ticket office offers a basic, but perfectly sufficient explanation in English as well as a clear and easy to follow guide map.
How to get to Sankeien Gardens?
From Yokohama Station
Take bus number 8 or 125 from the station's east exit to Honmoku Sankeien-mae (35 minutes) from where Sankeien is another five minutes by foot.
From Negishi Station
Take the JR Negishi Line to Negishi Station from where it is a ten minute bus ride by line number 54, 58, 99, 101 or 108 to Honmoku. From there, Sankeien is another 5-10 minutes by foot. Alternatively, you can walk from Negishi Station to Sankeien in about 30-45 minutes or take a taxi (about 1000 yen one way).
- A Collection of Buildings from Various Eras
- Beautiful garden and great landscape
- Relax & enjoy a lovely garden-park
- Stunning cherry blossom
- Tranquility and Serenity in one Place
Japan 〒231-0824 Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama, Naka Ward, Honmokusannotani, 58−1
Tips for you
We were in Yokohama for a Congress and the Tourism Office of Yokohama highly recommended us to visit this Japanese typical park. We did it and we were not disappointed at all. This is something like doing a visit of Japan and having the opportunity to see in the same time the old and the new Japan. The parks contain 14 different areas (themes). this is easy to make the visit. The prize entrance is cheap. And the park is well served by public transportation. The park is totaly wheelchair accessible. We highly recommend the visit of the park to all visitors of the city of Yokohama. It is a must.
Best view on sakura sakura & hanami...you can also join the tea ceremony here
We spent the morning here, looking at the old buildings. They had both dwellings and decommissioned temples, mostly made of wood and straw. We went all around the pond, and didn't notice we had only looked at the outer garden (left side on the map by the main entrance). In that section, it didn't feel like a manufactured "Japanese Garden", no bonsai-looking trees or raked sand. Just natural foliage among a collection of buildings. It felt more like VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver (yelp.co.jp/biz/vandusen-…) as opposed to the touristy Butchart Gardens (yelp.co.jp/biz/the-butch…). It seemed like a nice place for locals to get an annual pass and come walk or read. They had some bench clusters shaded by fuji (wisteria). Pretty! Other reviewers mention a Japanese Garden, so that must be in the main area. There was a historical-looking building that is a rentable venue! We were four adults. They had a 5-ticket package for the same price, so I have one left over that I can use next time. I don't see any expiration date on it. At the little shop past the pond, I got a "mitarashi dango"! It was fresh and warm. I had forgotten that's how they're supposed to be (supermarket versions are cold).