Great Gardens: Horikiri Shobu-en

Iris gardens seem to be a dime a dozen in the Tokyo area but that doesn't mean I love them any less. Purple being one of my favorite colors, I get a particular thrill to see these delicate-stalked blooms begin to appear in late May and throughout the month of June. One of my favorite... Continue Reading →

Great Gardens: Ashikaga Flower Park

A few years ago, wisteria wasn't even on my radar. Sure, it's a historical and hugely popular flower here in Japan, but having spent so much time in Okinawa up to that point, my flower knowledge mostly comprised hibiscus ... and that's it. Alright, and cherry blossoms. Everybody knows cherry blossoms. 🙂 Then I moved to... Continue Reading →

Great Gardens: Meguro Sky Garden

Most of the gardens I've profiled in this category (and on this site in general) have been traditional Japanese style gardens or gardens dedicated to a particular bloom (like the iris garden outside Beppu). I'm going to break with "protocol" and write up a modern garden I discovered only a short walk from my home... Continue Reading →

Great Gardens: Hakuryuen (Kyoto)

Last year, my friend Felicity (constant travel companion and fabulous videoegrapher at Where Next Japan) invited my daughter and I to Kyoto for a visit to a rather special garden. Her Osaka-based photography club had gotten permission to visit a private garden in northern Kyoto and she wanted to know if I would like to... Continue Reading →

Great Gardens: Fujita Teien (Hirosaki)

Aomori, on the northern part of the Japan's main island of Honshu, is not the most likely locale for one of Japan's top 50 traditional gardens. The Tohoku region is more known for its exuberant festivals and its wild ruggedness than any carefully cultivated beauty. Perhaps that makes a visit to the Fujita Teien in... Continue Reading →

Great Gardens: Hori Teien (Tsuwano)

The small town of Tsuwano at the edge of Shimane prefecture has a host of interesting sights - a stunning hilltop Inari shrine, a lovely old samurai district crisscrossed by canals, and a handful of unique museums. But far and away the best sight in town is one that didn't even have a sign. Or... Continue Reading →

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