Anna's top 5 Japanese gardens in KyotoMonday, June 30, 2014
Ahhh Japan - a country that's close to my heart in more ways than one, and probably my all-time favourite travel destination. So I'm really excited to hand over the reins of my blog today to Anna from stylishimoto who is going to get your travel mojo well and truly buzzing with these beautiful gardens in Kyoto. Sigh...
Hi there, I'm Anna and I blog over at stylishimoto, where I write about fashion, food, art and travel, most importantly my gap year in Japan. I was born in Japan but grew up in England surrounded by English culture, English food and English weather! When I arrived in Japan in July 2013 I had little knowledge of Japanese culture and could speak hardly any Japanese. Now back in England I read that Claire was looking for guest writers to fill in while she was traveling through Thailand and Japan. I thought it would be perfect for me to share with you all some of my favourite places in Japan.
As there are so many wonderful places I decided to narrow it down to my five favourite Japanese gardens in Kyoto, the city where I lived. Japanese gardens are really beautiful and each one so unique. They are peaceful, and walking around admiring their beauty is a great way to relax.
1. Shosei-en garden
I went to this garden just a few days before leaving Japan. It's only a seven minute walk from Kyoto Station and yet when I went it was practically empty. Unfortunately there are some high rise buildings surrounding the garden but I liked the view of the empty, green garden with Kyoto Tower in the background.
2. Tofuki-ji temple
Temples in Japan have really beautiful gardens, some are small but the one at Tofuku-ji is pretty big. I went in autumn when all the leaves were amazing jewel colours. As it is one of the most famous places in Kyoto for autumn leaves there were hordes of Japanese tourists, which I wrote more about in this post, however it was definitely worth it.
3. Aizu Governor’s Temple
Aizu was a samurai clan from Tohoku who were called to Kyoto to protect the Emperor (ironically they ended up fighting against the Emperor). Anyway this was the temple where the Aizu Governor lived while Kyoto. The temple itself is very interesting and the garden is very traditional in its style with perfectly manicured lawns, bonsai and a tea house.
4. Murin-an villa
This place is the definition of a hidden gem. Tucked away in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto near Nanzen-ji temple it has the added bonus of the Higashiyama hills in the background. Compared to other Japanese gardens this place has a slightly more western feel, with an open lawn scattered with wild flowers.
5. Shinsen-en garden
This is a very small garden but it is near Nijo castle so if you are in the area it is worth coming. Stand on the bright orange bridge and watch all the fish swimming around then walk up to the dragon boat. Out of all the gardens I have talked about this is the only one that is free.
If you ever travel to Japan then I definitely recommend visiting at least a couple of these gardens in Kyoto. For more information on Japan then pop over and have a look at my blog where posts include an explanation of the differences between Geisha, Geiko and Maiko.