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Korakuen, one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan, is a cultural heritage site for the world to treasure.
Now, having come back from a whirlwind tour of both Shikoku and Kyushu, I had to find a starting point for this first journal entry. Actually, my trip didn’t start there, it started in Okayama Prefecture. I’m sure many people have never even heard of this place, but for those Japan lovers and garden geeks out there this place holds a special place in our hearts, meaning I’m geeky garden loving Japan aficionado, too.
First of all I have to say that I was lucky, lucky enough to have had an opportunity to visit Korakuen in Okayama Prefecture. Most sightseers who are on a limited time and budget would normally skip over this place simply because it wasn’t written in a book or featured in a movie or film somewhere. Tourist tend to flock to places like Kyoto, Nara, and Tokyo, and while all of these places may be good, they all have one thing in common, they are too touristy .
Since I had an unlimited budget and plenty of time on my hands I did what most travelers would do, I went to one of the most beautiful open gardens in the world.
From my eyes this garden is very nice mainly because it is so bright and open. The footpaths are long flowing deep into the garden allowing visitors to stroll along either alone and in deep thought, or with a friend or a lover, this garden is also a famous dating spot for many locals in this area. Built in 1687 by Tsuda Nagatada under orders from Ikeda Tsunamasa daimyo (Japanese feudal lord), this garden evolved into a great masterpiece of landscape architecture, even surviving the American bombing campaigns of World War 2.
Korakuen is embracing, warm, and accepting. The garden lures you into its beauty showing you its many tea houses, ponds, and lush groves. The bridges are surrounded by gorgeous Irises as noted in the Tale of Ise. The Halls in the garden were once great resting places for feudal lords and dignitaries three centuries ago, and still to this day they haven’t lost their charm. I recommend visiting the tea houses. You can sip on tea while overlooking this beautiful open garden
From the JR Okayama Station it’s a 25 minute walk to the garden.
Admissions is 350 for adults. Phone number is 086-272-1148. English is spoken.
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Tony Alexander "McTojo Archives"