Korakuen Gardens

One of the three most famous gardens in Japan (the others being Kairaku-en in Mito and Kenroku-en in Kanazawa), Koraku-en looks very much now as it did on its completion in 1700.

Open to the public since 1884, Koraku-en is full of gorgeous views, green lawns (a surprising and unusual feature in traditional Japanese gardens), and architectural treasures, including the unusual Ryuten Pavilion which houses a running stream.

We recommend a visit to the Nishiki-ga-oka Hill, where many wild birds visit the lush cypress woods. There is an excellent view of the Kaya-no-ike pond from the Renchi-ken Teahouse, and the tea fields (which are a more bitter variety of tea than that commonly drunk today) are well worth visiting.

You’ll need about two hours to explore the garden, and it’s a nice place to enjoy a picnic lunch. Bento lunch boxes are sometimes available but generally it’s safest to take in your own food if you’re planning on eating in the garden.