Koko-en Garden Himeji
Koko-en Garden Himeji is a modern garden opened in 1993. There are nine different types of garden, all based on styles popular during the Edo Period.
Koko-en Gardens, Himeji 好古園
Located in the shadow of the World Heritage listed Himeji Castle, Koko-en is a modern garden opened in 1993. Actually gardens is more accurate as there are nine different types of garden, all based on styles popular during the Edo Period (1603-1868).
Entrance to Koko-en Gardens near Himeji Castle
Colorful koi swim in the pond of the Lord's Residence Garden in Koko-en Garden, Himeji
Koko-en Garden History
Koko-en was built on the site of the Nishi Yashiki, the western residence of the domain lord, and the walled compounds and lanes between conform to the historical layout of the area. The gardens are authentic enough that scenes from historical dramas and movies are filmed here.
The Kassui-ken restaurant with views over the pond at Koko-en garden
Koko-en garden with Himeji Castle in the background
Gardens & Facilities
The suggested route takes you first to the biggest garden, the Oyashiki no Niwa, the garden of the Lord's residence, and in the large pond live hundreds of colorful koi.
Great views over the pond can be had from the Kassui-ken restaurant that serves lunch as well as tea and snacks. A large roofed corridor leads to another building on the edge of the water, the Cho On Sai guesthouse where you can sit and enjoy a different view of the pond and garden.
After passing through the Nai no Niwa, the Seedling Garden, where plants are grown for later transplanting around the garden, you arrive at the Tea Ceremony Garden in the center of which is the Souju-an Tea House where you can enjoy a traditional powdered green tea with a view of the castle behind the garden.
Next up is the Flatly Landscaped Garden, a rural style of garden that is somewhat park-like, followed by the Garden of Summer Trees where you will find most of the Maple trees.
The Garden of Pines leads to the Garden of Flowers after which you come to the Garden with a Hill and Pond, and within the pond are two large rocks, one shaped like a turtle, and one shaped like a crane, both are symbols of longevity and such rocks are a common feature of traditional gardens. The final compound contains a Bamboo Garden.
Like most good gardens the scenery changes with the seasons and several times during the year the garden opens at night. In spring when the cherry trees are in full blossom and illuminated, on the night of the Harvest Moon in September when all the gardens are illuminated, and in the autumn when the maples have turned red.
While Himeji Castle is almost always very crowded, Koko-en garden rarely is, and so offers a quiet interlude after visiting the castle. You should allow at least an hour to enjoy the gardens, longer if you are going to eat in the restaurant or have matcha green tea.
Open from 9 am to 5 pm, September to AprilOpen from 9 am to 6 pm, May to August.
Closed December 29 & 30
Entry 300 yen for adults, 150 yen for children.
Scattered around Koko-en garden in Himeji are numerous gazebos and rest huts to sit and enjoy the view
Panoramic view of one of the 9 gardens in Koko-en near Himeji Castle
Koko-en Garden68 Honmachi, Himeji-shi, Hyogo 670-0012
Tel: 079 289 4120
Koko-en is a 5 minute bus ride from Himeji Station by various bus routes including the 100 yen Castle Loop Bus. It is 5 minutes on foot from Himeji Castle, 7 minutes from Himeji City Museum of Literature, 8 minutes from Himeji City Museum of Art and 8 minutes from Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History.
Himeji is a stop on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen Line and is 3 hours 20 minutes by bullet-train from Tokyo.Visitors can also take a shinkaisoku JR express from Kyoto (90 mins), Osaka (1 hour) or Kobe (40 mins).
Kare Sansui dry garden in front of Koko-en garden, Himeji