19 Zen Gardens in Japan You Don’t Want to Miss


I was compiling all the information and pictures I had of the Japanese gardens when I decided to make this list of 19 gardens you don’t want to miss. These gardens are extremely beautiful or very close to the cities you will probably visit in Japan.

So, what are some of the most amazing gardens of Japan? From Suizenji Park in Kumamoto to Kokyo Gaien, Kyosumi Garden and Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Garden in Tokyo, and passing by Hamamatsu Castle Park in Hamamatsu, the Stone Garden in Kyoto or even the Ritsurin Garden in Kagawa, Japan is full of the most beautiful gardens.

Now let’s take a closer look to these places that are definitely worth the visit.

Kokyo Gaien National Garden (皇居外苑)

Kokyo Gaien National Garden
©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

Address: 1-1 KokyoGaien, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0002

Opening hours: always open

Entry fee: none

Information: The Kokyo Gaien National Garden was first opened to the public in 1949 after the World War II and before that, the garden belonged to the Imperial Family. This place in the heart of Tokyo is perfect to visit and to forget for a while that you’re in a huge city. You should take a little time to relax and appreciate the view.

How to get there: You can get to the park in just 10 minutes from the Tokyo Station. As you can see in the picture below, the park is very close to the station.

Google maps

Suizenji Park (水前寺成趣園)

Suizenji Park
©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

Address: 8-1 Suizenji Kōen, Chūō-ku, Kumamoto, 862-0956

Opening hours: 7:30 – 17:30 (from March to October), 8:30 – 16:30 (from November to February)

Entry fee: ¥4OO

Information: The Suizenji garden represents the 53 Stations of the Tokaido (a route from Edo to Kyoto during the Edo period). In Suizenji park you can see:

  • The Izumi Shrine Tori gate
  • The Izumi Shrine
  • The Spring of Longevity
  • The Noh Theatre
  • The Hoshikawa bronze statue
  • The pond at the center surrounded by trees, bridges and stones

How to get there: From JR Kumamoto Station take the tram to Suizenji Park Station. Walk for 5 minutes and you’ll reach the park.

suizenji park
Google maps

Kawachi Wisteria Garden (河内藤園)

Kawachi Wisteria Garden
©K,Fukunaga/©JNTO

Address: 2-2-46 Kawachi, Yahatahigashi-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 805-0045

Opening hours: 8:00 – 18:00 (from mid April to early May), 9:00 – 17:00 (from mid November to early December)

Entry fee: ¥500 (during Wisteria season, prices can go up to ¥1500 and you’ll have to pay the difference at the entry of the park). During the peak season in spring, you must make a reservation in advance or you won’t be able to enter the park.

Information: The Wisteria Garden is a private garden which has more than 20 different kinds of wisterias. In this park you can walk through 2 multicolored tunnels (80 and 110 meters long). You also have a big 100 square meters area of Noda Nagafuji. In November, there’s a special area at the bottom of the park to observe the Autumn leaves.

How to get there: The nearest bus stop is at a 55-minute walk from the park, so it’s not that easy to get there. If you have a car, it will be easier since you have 200 free parking spots near the entrance. Other option to consider is the shuttle bus between Yahata Station and Wisteria Garden, but only during the peak season.

Nanraku-En Garden (南楽園)

Nanraku-En Garden
©JNTO

Address: 1813 Tsushimacho Chikaie, Uwajima, Ehime 798-3303

Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00

Entry fee: ¥300

Information: The Nanraku-en Garden was selected as one of the top 100 urban parks of Japan. You can enjoy the park all year long since they have four seasons events like Nanraku Rakuen Welcome Festival, Nanrakuen Outer Hori Sakura Festival, Nanraku Rakuen Moon Festival or Autumn healing south paradise. Also, don’t miss these three blessing spots:

  • The Blessing of the Happy Bridge
  • Stone of Hope (The Path of Manyo)
  • Amber monument (Sea House)

How to get there: The easiest way to get to the garden is by car (a 30-minute ride from the Uwajima Station) or by bus (40 minutes).

Yoshimizu-en Garden (吉水園)

Yoshimizu-en Garden
©Hiroshima Prefecture/©JNTO

Address: 3410 Kake, Akiota-cho, Yamagata-gun, Hiroshima 731-3501

Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (twice a year : first and second weekend of June and second weekend of November)

Entry fee: ¥200

Information: The Yoshimizu Garden is known for the Forest Tree Frogs and its considered a wildlife reserve since 1952. It’s also known for the amazing beauty of its Autumn leaves.

How to get there: From the JR Kabe Station, you can pick a car and drive for 35 minutes to get to the park. This will be the easiest way. Otherwise, you can pick the bus from the station, but it will take longer.

Kenroku-en Garden (兼六園)

Kenroku-en Garden
©JTA/©JNTO

Address: 1 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0936

Opening hours: 7:00 – 198:00 (from March 1 to October 15), 8:00 – 17:00 (from October 16th to February 28/29)

Entry fee: ¥310

Information: When visiting the Kenroku-en Garden, you can also enjoy the amazing Kanazawa Castle which is a National Historical Site. The Kenroku-en Garden is one of the 3 most beautiful gardens in Japan and it changes with each season. Like this, you can have different landscapes throughout the year. Take a look at the official website for further information.

How to get there: From the Okanazawa Station, you can pick a taxi and it’s just a 10-minute ride to the park. The bus is also available at this station (it takes slightly longer due to the stops)

Google Maps

Korakuen Garden (岡山後楽園)

Okayama Korakuen Garden
©JTA/©JNTO

Address: 1-5 Kōrakuen, Kita-ku, Okayama, 703-8257

Opening hours: 7:30 – 18:00 (from March 20 to September 30), 8:00 – 17:00 (from October 1 to March 19)

Entry fee: ¥400

Information: Just like Kenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa, Korakuen Garden is one of the 3 most famous gardens in Japan. In this garden you will be able to enjoy different things like:

  • Enyo-tei House
  • Kayo-no-ike Pond
  • Jizo-do Shrine
  • Ofuna-iri-ato Dock Remains
  • Renchi-ken Teahouse
  • Yuishinzan Hill
  • Kako-no-ike Pond
  • Chisio-no-mori Grove
  • and much more

You can download the garden’s brochure from the official website here.

How to get there: Getting to Korakuen Garden it’s just a 10-minute ride from JR Okayama Station, or a 25-minute walk if you prefer. The bus is also available (10-15 minutes).

Google Maps

Ritsurin Garden (栗林公園)

Ritsurin Garden
©JTA/©JNTO

Address: 1-chōme-20-16 Ritsurinchō, Takamatsu, Kagawa 760-0073

Opening hours: 7:00 – 17:00 (December and January), 7:00 – 17:30 (February), 6:30 – 18:00 (March), 5:30 – 18:30 (April, May, September), 5:30 – 19:00 (June, July, August), 6:00 – 17:30 (October), 6:30 – 17:00 (November)

Entry fee: ¥410

Information: With its 6 ponds and 13 landscaped hills, Ritsurin Garden is a place that’s worth the visit. There’s so much beautiful things to see in this garden that I don’t even know where to start. Anyway, just make sure you don’t miss all the flower and tree fields, the maple tree shore, the Neagari Goyo-matsu Pine and some buildings like Kikugetsu-tei Teahouse or Sanuki Folk Craft Museum. And also, take a ride in the Japanese-style boat available from October to February. You can get the park brochure from the official website here.

How to get there: From the Ritsurin-Koen-Kitaguchi station, you just have to walk for less than 5 minutes and you’re at the park, otherwise, it’s a 10-minute walk from the Ritsurin-Koen station.

Hama Rikyu Garden (浜離宮恩賜庭園)

Hama-Rikyu Garden
©JTA/ ©JNTO

Address: 1-1 Hamarikyūteien, Chuo City, Tōkyō-to 104-0046

Opening hours: from 9:00 to 16:30

Entry fee: ¥300 (free entry on Green Day (May 4) and Tokyo Citizen’s Days (October 1))

Information: The Hama Rikyu garden, which belonged to different Shogun over time, was given to the city of Tokyo in 1945 by the Imperial family. When visiting, make sure you don’t miss the 300 year-old pine not too far from the park’s entrance. You can download the park’s brochure from the Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association using this link.

How to get there: Close to the Shiodome station, you just have to walk for about 10 minutes to get to the entry of the park.

Google maps

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden (新宿御苑)

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

Address: 11 Naitōmachi, Shinjuku City, Tōkyō-to 160-0014

Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:30 (from mid March to late September), 9:00 – 16:00 (from October to mid March), 9:00 – 18:30 (July and August)

Entry fee: ¥500

Information: Like many Japanese gardens, Shinjuku Gyoen was also an Imperial garden which was opened to the public after the war. This garden is particularly fascinating because it combines 3 types of gardens: landscaped gardens, shaped gardens, and Japanese gardens. Other than the stunning view, you can also enjoy some cool facilities like the restaurant Yurinoki, the cafe Hananouki or the tea room. You can download the official brochure here (source: Shinjuku Gyoen website)

How to get there: The park is very close to the Shinjuku Station, just a 10-minute walk to the entry of the park.

Google maps

Kiyosumi Garden (清澄庭園)

Kiyosumi Garden
©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

Address: 3-3-9 Kiyosumi, Koto City, Tōkyō-to 135-0024

Opening hours: 9:00 – 16:30

Entry fee: ¥150 (free entry on Green Day (May 4) and Tokyo Citizen’s Days (October 1))

Information: In Kiyosumi garden, you will be able to see a lot of Japanese Black pines and flowers like purple azaleas, hydrangeas, iris and Taiwan cherry. Also, make sure you don’t miss some amazing view points like:

  • Iso-Watari (stepping stones near the pond that allow the passage of visitors)
  • Fuji-san (the largest and tallest hill in the garden)
  • Ryotei (a building with the style of a tea ceremony house)

You can download the park’s brochure from the Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association using this link.

How to get there: Very close to the Kiyosumi-shirakawa Station, you just have to walk for 5 minutes to get there.

Google maps

Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Garden (旧芝離宮恩賜庭園)

Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Garden
©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

Address: 1 Chome-4 Kaigan, Minato City, Tokyo 105-0022

Opening hours: 9:00 – 16:30

Entry fee: ¥150 (free entry on Green Day (May 4) and Tokyo Citizen’s Days (October 1))

Information: The Kyu-Shiba-rikyu garden is one of the oldest feudal gardens that resisted to the present days. The garden goes all around the pond at the center and has some amazing rock and land formations. You can download the park’s brochure from the Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association using this link.

How to get there: Kyu-Shiba-rikyu garden is really close to the Hamamatsucho Station. Once you leave the station, just walk for 1 minute and you’re at the park.

Google maps

Hamamatsu Castle Park (浜松城公園)

Hamamatsu Castle Park
©HVCB/©JNTO

Address: 100-2 Motoshiro-cho, Naka-ku, Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka 430-0946

Opening hours: always open (8:30 – 16:30 castle opening hours)

Entry fee: none (¥200 to visit the castle)

Information: This is one of the most beautiful gardens you’ll get to see and the castle is just amazing. If you visit during cherry blossom bloom season (late March to early April), this park will be one of the best spots. For more information, you can take a look at the official website.

How to get there: From Hamamatsu Station, take the bus and stop at Shiyakusho Minami. From there, just walk for 6 minutes and you’re at the park.

Google Maps

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens (小石川後楽園)

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

Address: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0004

Opening hours: 9:00 – 16:30

Entry fee: ¥300 (free entry on Green Day (May 4) and Tokyo Citizen’s Days (October 1))

Information: This garden, considered as an historic site and a place of scenic beauty, has a lot of Chinese influences. You definitely want to see these spots:

  • Tsuten-kyo (a vermilion colored bridge)
  • Engetsu-kyo (the Full Moon Bridge)
  • Seiko-no-tsutsumi (a bank just like the one in Lake Seiko in China)
  • Nobedan (a Chinese style stone path)
  • Shidare-zakura (a 60 years old cherry tree)

You can download the park’s brochure from the Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association using this link.

How to get there: Just like most gardens in Tokyo, there’s always a station close to the garden. To get to the Koishikawa Korakuen garden, just stop at Iidabashi Station and walk for less than 5 minutes.

Koishikawa Korakuen garden
Google maps

Shukkeien Garden (縮景園)

Shukkeien Garden
©Hiroshima Convention & Visitors Bureau/©JNTO

Address: 2-11 Kaminoborichō, Naka-ku, Hiroshima, 730-0014

Opening hours: 9:00 – 18:00 (from April to September), 9:00 – 17:00 (from October to March)

Entry fee: ¥260

Information: The Shukkeien Garden is one of those gardens that you can enjoy at any season as it is always beautiful, from spring to winter. While walking around and enjoying the view, make sure you don’t miss the best photo spots:

  • Oka-ko (Halo of Cherry Blossoms)
  • Yuyu-tei (Arbor of Leisure)
  • Geiki-ho (Peak of distant views)
  • Chujo-to (Arbor of Rested Cane)
  • Chozen-kyo (Place of Solitude)
  • Sekisho-an (Autumn Sunset Teahouse)

You can download the official brochure here.

How to get there: From the Hiroshima Station, just walk for 15 minutes and you’ll arrive at the park. If you don’t feel like walking, you can also take the bus from the station.

Adachi Museum of Art (足立美術館)

Adachi Museum of Art
©Adachi Museum of Art/©JNTO

Address: 320 Furukawachō, Yasugi, Shimane 692-0064

Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:30 (from April to September), 9:00 – 17:00 (from October to March)

Entry fee: ¥2300

Information: The Adachi Garden is composed of six different gardens and is considered as a “living Japanese painting“. These gardens are extremely beautiful at any season. You can download the museum brochure to help you before and during your visit.

How to get there: The easiest way is to use the free shuttle bus from JR Yasugi Station. It’s just a 20-minute ride. You can view the timetable on the Adachi Museum Website.

Google Maps

Ryoan-ji Stone Garden (龍安寺)

Stone Garden
©JNTO

Address: 13 Ryōanji Goryōnoshitachō, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8001

Opening hours: 8:00 – 17:00 (from March to November), 8:30 – 16:30 (from December to February)

Entry fee: ¥500

Information: The Stone Garden is a part of the Ryoan-ji Buddhist Temple. Other than the impressive calm of the garden, you will be able to appreciate other things like the Kyoyochi Pond, the Pilgrim’s Path, the Wabisuke Camellia Tree or the Stone Water-Basin.

How to get there: From the JR Kyoto Station, take the bus and stop at Ritsumeikan daigakuzen. Then walk for 7 minutes and you’ll arrive at the temple.

Google Maps

Sorakuen Garden (相楽園)

Sorakuen Garden
©Kobe Convention & Visitors Association/©JNTO

Address: 5-3-1 Nakayamate-dori, Chuo-ku,Kobe City, Hyogo 650-0004

Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00

Entry fee: ¥300

Information: The Sorakuen Garden is an astonishing place of calm and relaxation. And it is incredibly beautiful during Spring and Autumn. Other than the garden, you will be able to see and enjoy the Houseboat (Kawagozabune), the Kodera Stable and the Hassam House. All three are considered as an important cultural property.

How to get there: From JR Motomachi Station, just walk for 15 minutes and you’ll be at the park.

Google Maps

Genkyuen Garden (玄宮園)

Genkyuen Garden
©Yasufumi Nishi/©JNTO

Address: 3 Konkichō, Hikone, Shiga 522-0061

Opening hours: 8:30 – 17:00

Entry fee: ¥200 (¥800 for the garden + castle)

Information: The Genkyuen Garden is located on the grounds of Hikone Castle, which is another extraordinary place to visit. This garden has a central pond with four small islands and you can see the Hikone Castle in the background.

You can download this brochure to help you during your visit.

How to get there: From Hikone Station, you just have to walk for about 16 minutes and you’ll be at the garden.

Google Maps

And that’s the end of this list.

I hope you’ll appreciate this list of gardens and that your visits will be just as amazing as these incredible Japanese landscapes. Feel free to share the results of your visit in the comments below.

Disclaimer : Although I make my best to keep the post updated, information like fees and opening hours is changing all the time. Make sure you check each official website of the garden you want to visit to see if there’s any recent change.

Click here to learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

Ana Costa

Hi everyone, my name is Ana. I'm currently living in France, but I've always been passionate about Japan and it's culture. I love drawing manga, watch anime, eat sushi and all things related to Japan ;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts