Top 5 Japanese Gardens

Japanese garden

The Japanese take their gardening and landscaping very seriously. You may be surprised at first when you discover that what you thought was a bird up in a tree is really a coverall clad Japanese gardener working on shaping and lovingly pruning the tree.

There are so many beautiful gardens to see in Japan that it’s hard to trim it down to the must-see. But we’ve tried our best. So here we go with our top five gardens in Japan.

Hama Rikyu Garden

Hama Rikyu Garden Teahouse


Hama Rikyu Garden is found near the mouth of the Sumida River, in the heart of Tokyo. Surrounded on three sides by water, it is one of Japan’s most famous gardens.

In a previous post we took a stroll through the garden. The garden allows for a calm walk through beautiful surroundings as well as a traditional tea house located in the middle of a pond. Spend some time getting a taste of the Chanoyu Japanese tea ceremony as you let the hustle and bustle of Tokyo melt away.

Ryoanji Temple

Ryoanji Rock Garden


If you want a break from all the greenery, be sure to check out Ryoanji, Japan’s most famous rock garden. Moss-covered boulders mix with carefully raked pebbles to take you back to the 15th century.

While in Kyoto be sure to visit Nijo Castle and the Katsura Imperial Villa as well. Both house beautiful strolling gardens.

Take a stroll through Ryoanji Gardens.

Kenrokuen Garden

Kenrokuen Garden


Arguably one of the best landscape gardens in Japan. Open to the public in 1871, Kenrokuen garden is packed with ponds, streams, bridges, and waterfalls. It covers over 25 acres of ground and has something for everyone. It’s a photographers dream come true.

Kanazawa is a little off the beaten track (located on the west coast of Japan about 4 hours from Tokyo), but it’s well worth the effort to see this outstanding garden.

Take a stroll through Kenrokuen Gardens.

Ritsurin Koen

Ritsurin Koen


This Edo period garden in located in Takamatsu City. The garden is one of the most beautiful historical parks in Japan. This spacious strolling garden is divided into both a traditional Japanese garden as well as a Western styled garden. Mt. Shiun serves as a wonderful backdrop to this Japanese National Treasure.

Takamatsu is located on the island on Shikoku about 4 1/2 hours by train from Tokyo.

Adachi Museum of Art Garden

Adachi Garden


Although it’s a relatively new garden (constructed in 1980), the Adachi garden continues to win Japan’s top garden awards. Although the garden can only only been enjoyed from inside the museum, the views are presented through wall openings to give to allusion of art work hung on the museum walls. There are plenty of spectacular views to be seen and you work your way through the museum’s art work.

Matsue is approximately 2-3 hours from Tokyo by train.

Photo Credits – Japanese garden close up by: SteveA, Hama Rikyu by: Andrew & Netetia, Ryoanji Rock Garden by: EugeniusD80, Kenrokuen Garden by: Aschaf, Ritsurin Koen by: Paul & Kelly, Adachi Garden by: hakushima girl.

2 Responses to “Top 5 Japanese Gardens”

  1. Susan Priscilla Burbey  on June 5th, 2013

    Fabulous gardens, With Love, Susan

  2. Merced Legurpa  on May 7th, 2015

    So amazing! How I wish to be there. I love gardening and with Japanese intricate architecture, it is just awesome.

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