Japanese Gardens: Tranquil oases offering peaceful moments in bustling cities2017.01.11
Several Japanese gardens can be found throughout the city of Fukuoka. Filled with ponds, rock formations, flowers and other greenery that provide a multitude of landscapes, each Japanese garden can be thought of as a work of traditional art. Here we will share with you 4 Japanese gardens within Fukuoka City that are easy to access.
Yusentei Park is a Japanese garden in the Chisen Kaiyu (lake-promenade) style which features grand views from its Ohiroma, or great pavilion.
Yusentei Park can be found in the Jonan Ward of Fukuoka City, located alongside the Hii River. The garden was originally the grounds of a villa that was built in 1754. It belonged to Lord Tsugutaka, who was a clan leader in the region. In 1981 it was renovated into the Japanese garden you see today.
The Ohiroma, built in the Shoin style (which became the basis for traditional home design in Japan), provides views of the garden’s pond that are breathtaking in their beauty. The pond is surrounded by a multitude of trees whose foliage change colors with the seasons, including a stately Osmanthus fragrans tree (known locally as kinmokusei) which is over 300 years old.
A path circles the pond, and walking along it reveals several items of interest, such as a sparkling waterfall with carp swimming at its base, paths made from slabs of rock known as nebukawa-ishi, which are a rare sight these days, and the tea house with its thatched roof.
Enjoy Uji matcha green tea from Kyoto, served with a traditional Japanese confection of your choice. In the winter, zenzai (warm, sweet soup made from red beans) is also served.
Yusentei Garden is considered by many to be the pinnacle of refinement. Visitors to the Ohiroma can relax as they like on the broad tatami mat floor, enjoy the cool breezes, and let the time pass by in quiet contemplation.
The elegant, enchanting, and authentic garden at Yusentei is a spot where you can immerse yourself in a classical Japanese atmosphere.
The Japanese Garden at Ohori Park has a large pond along with a collection of features that exemplify the art of gardening.
Ohori Park has long been a place of relaxation for the citizens of Fukuoka. Its Japanese garden was opened in 1984 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the park’s opening. Located on the southern end of the park, the Japanese garden is the largest in the prefecture with an area of 12,000 square meters!
Designed to be a showcase of traditional Japanese gardening techniques, there are a multitude of sights to enjoy throughout the garden. The large pond in the main garden has an artificial hill which serves as a backdrop, and includes features such as a rock garden, a small pavilion, and a traditional teahouse on its periphery.
Look for three distinct types of waterfalls: one with a broad sheet of falling water, one reminiscent of a mountain stream, and a three-tiered waterfall.
Some of the most striking aspects of this garden are its use of large decorative rocks and its placement of pine trees. These elements bring a sense of natural strength and rustic beauty to the otherwise stately scenery of the garden.
A variety of colorful flowers and trees are planted throughout the park, including black pine, oak, camphor, maple, rhododendron, azalea, and andromeda. The garden is especially well-known for the azalea and other flowers which bloom in early summer.
You can forget the bustle and noise of the city around you as you take a moment of relaxation at this Japanese garden. If you are ever in the Ohori Park area, it is definitely worth your time to stop by here.
Ohori Park Japanese Garden
Rakusui-en is Japanese garden with strong regional influences that features a suikinkutsu, a musical garden ornament.
Visitors to Rakusui-en are often surprised to find such a garden nestled among the office buildings near Hakata Station.
The earthen wall that encloses the garden is a marvel in itself. This so-called Hakata-bei is made from fired stones and tiles which were reused as the town was rebuilt during Japan’s period of civil war.
Follow the Hakata-bei earthen wall to the gate leading into Rakusui-en.
The garden has several tea houses, but the best views are said to be found in the tea house known as Rakusui-an.
After a short rest, take a stroll through the garden. The elegant path that leads to the tea house is decorated with cherry blossoms in the spring, roses and irises in the summer, and maple leaves in the fall, making for beautiful seasonal scenery.
Another key feature of this garden which should not be missed is the suikinkutsu. Water flows from a stone basin and falls into a buried earthenware vessel which forms a small underground chamber. The sound of drops of water falling into this space reverberates in a pleasant way that you can enjoy by placing your ear near the bamboo pipe and listening quietly to the faint sounds. The resonance of these sounds make a beautiful melody, and upon listening to it you will be impressed by the ingenuity of those who designed this unique natural instrument long ago.
Come to Rakusui-en to immerse yourself in an elegant space enjoyed by wealthy Hakata merchants of days gone by and the aesthetic beauty of the tea ceremony.
Shofu-en, a famous garden watched over by Japanese maples that are over 100 years old.
The last garden on our tour is Shofu-en, which can be found in the quiet neighborhood of Hirao in Chuo Ward.
This garden is currently used as a community event space where the tea ceremony and flower arrangement are practiced, and tea-brewing lessons and informal gatherings are held here as well.
Visitors may also visit to view the garden. Visitors to the garden are given an illustrated guide so that they can learn more about the garden and its buildings and the culture of tea.
While the tea house called Shofu-an is an impressive sight in itself, the garden around it also holds various attractions that will pique visitors ’ interests. A clearing designed to represent Mount Fuji and its 5 lakes also includes a special area where rare sanyo no matsu (three-needled pine) trees grow. Carefully-arranged stepping stones mark the walking path. Stone lanterns in the garden are decorated with carvings of Saint Mary (a remnant of historical Christian activity in the region) or tea ceremony implements. The tea house has a small nijiriguchi (crawling-in) door for the tea house, which embodies the concepts of balance and contrast in the tea ceremony. Fascinating sights like these cannot be found together anywhere else.
The Japanese maples that stand in the garden are over 100 years old and has become the symbol of Shofu-en. The two tree trunks grow alongside each other creating a single canopy of leaves whose fall colors peak in late November, but are also beautiful as new green leaves sprout in the spring.
Nearby you can also find the Fukuoka City Zoo and Botanical Garden, Josui Ryokuchi Park, and the historical Hirao Sanso cottage. A visit to this area makes for a relaxing day surrounded by nature.
The four Japanese gardens of Fukuoka City introduced here are all unique in their own right. Their scenery, features, and buildings all have their own charm and appeal. Another attraction of these gardens is how their scenery changes with the seasons.
The serene combination of the air, greenery, light, and sounds of water come together in a natural harmony to bring you an experience that cannot be had anywhere else. Take some time out of your busy day and enjoy the calming and relaxing space of a Japanese garden.