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Appreciate the Beauty of Sankei-en Garden in Yokohama

If you want to feel the atmosphere of Kyoto without actually visiting the former imperial capital, head to Sankei-en in southern Yokohama. This traditional garden has important cultural assets from Kyoto, Kamakura (another ancient capital of Japan), Tokyo, as well as Gifu and Wakayama prefectures.

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Built by the raw silk trader Tomitaro Hara, it opened in 1906 (the Outer Garden part). Tomitaro’s pseudonym for tea ceremonies was Sankei (san – three and kei – valley), so the name of this place means «The Garden of Three Valleys». As a successful businessman interested in the arts, he could afford to create an auspicious environment for the development of modern Japanese culture.

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The excellent scenery of the garden and several tea houses were a great attraction for many young artists as well as some famed ones, including the Nobel-prize winning Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore and the «Father of Japanese short stories» Akutogawa Ryunosuke.

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The Outer Garden is well-known for the three-storied wooden pagoda, which was moved there from an abandoned temple in Kyoto prefecture.

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The inner Garden was used by the Hara family and only opened to the general public in 1958.

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A stroll in Sankei-en is much more fun in the lotus season. Unfortunately, last year I was too late and the lotuses had already finished blooming. But even their rhizomes (called renkon in Japanese) were elegant and enchanting!


Sankei-en (三溪園)
Address: Kanagawa prefecture, Yokohama, Naka-ku, Honmoku Sannotani 58-1
Access: From JR Negishi station – bus routes 58, 59 or 101, and 10 min. walk from «Honmoku» bus stop
From JR Yokohama station – bus route 8 or 148, and 5 min. walk from «Honmoku Sankeien Mae» bus stop
Admission fee: adults and middle school students – 500 yen, children (elementary school students) – 200 yen.
Opening hours: 9:00-17:00 (Last entrance 16:30)
Closed on December 29, 30 and 31
Distance to airport: About 22 km from Haneda Airport

Article by Olga Kaneda

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