Uncovering the Most Beautiful Japanese Gardens Outside Japan

Unfurling the charm and tranquility of traditional Japanese gardens, this is an enchanting journey through some of the most stunning examples located outside Japan. These peaceful spaces, crafted around a set of specific principles, often depict a ‘natural’ ambiance using asymmetry and odd numbers. Their popularity is not just confined to Japan; beautifully designed Japanese gardens can be found in various corners of the globe, each one a testament to Japanese culture and aesthetics. Prepare yourself for a captivating voyage to 11 of the most beautiful Japanese gardens outside Japan; from the sublime elegance of Tatton Park in the UK through to the serene beauty of the Japanese Garden in Clingendael Park, this truly is a global homage to the art of Japanese gardening.

Table of Contents

Touring the Tatton Park in Cheshire, UK

Begin your journey in the heart of Europe with one of the best Japanese Gardens, Tatton Park in Cheshire, UK. Its elegant design was greatly influenced by the Japan-British Exhibition in 1910 and epitomizes the height of Edwardian fashion.

Understanding its Edwardian inspiration

The Edwardian period was known for its reverence of nature, asymmetry, and deep-rooted fascination with Japanese culture. Tatton Park was crafted according to these principles, which can be observed in its carefully placed plantings and structures, giving you the feeling of being transported to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Noteworthy features in the garden

Look out for the quaint Tea House with its delicate brushwork, the Shinto Shrine with its spiritual aura, and the elegant foot-bridges extending over tranquil waters. Immersing yourself in these scenic vistas can not only stir your senses but also provide a serene escape from daily hustles.

Tips for a successful visit

Preparation is the key before embarking on your tour of Tatton Park. Keep in mind the park’s operating hours, which generally start at 10 AM. Do remember to pack a picnic – there are designated spots within the park. Last but not least, wear comfortable clothing and shoes, as the park is extensive with much to explore.

Experiencing the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco, USA

Next, cross the Atlantic to the oldest public Japanese Garden in the United States. Located within the Golden Gate Park, this 5-acre oasis, built in 1894, is a testament to enduring Japanese aesthetics.

The history of the oldest public Japanese Garden in the US

The Japanese Tea Garden was originally created as a “Japanese Village” for the California Midwinter International Exposition. Later, it was expanded and nurtured by Makoto Hagiwara, a Japanese immigrant, giving the garden its unique stamp of authenticity.

Highlight on the Tea House and Rock Garden

One of your first stops should be the historic Tea House. Here, you can taste traditional Japanese tea and snacks. Follow the meandering paths, and they will lead you to the dry landscape of the Rock Garden – designed to embody the rugged seashore.

Practical advice for visitors

Check the weather forecast before your visit as San Francisco can be quite unpredictable. Make sure to arrive early to avoid crowds, and allocate plenty of time to relax and soak in the tranquil surrounds.

The Jardín Japonés de Buenos Aires in Argentina

Venture to South America to behold the Jardín Japonés de Buenos Aires, a harmonious fusion of Japanese aesthetics and native South American foliage, created by the Japanese Argentine Cultural Foundation.

How South American plants blend with Japanese elements

These gardens wed traditional Japanese garden elements like stone lanterns, red lacquered bridges, and koi-filled ponds with local flora. The unique blend of towering Araucaria and lush ferns with Japanese Maples and delicate Azaleas creates an exotic charm.

Key spots to appreciate in the garden

Don’t miss the impressive bonsai collection, the mesmerizing Zen garden, and the monument dedicated to the Japanese poem, Haiku. Time your visit to view the park’s varying beauty during sunrise or sunset.

Best time and ways to visit

The garden is open year-round, providing a unique experience every season. Consider taking public transport or a taxi to avoid parking hassles. A guided tour is recommended to fully understand the garden’s background and purpose.

Visit to Cowra Japanese Garden in New South Wales, Australia

Find peace Down Under in Cowra Japanese Garden, New South Wales, Australia. Inspired by the kaiyū-shiki or ‘strolling garden’ style of the Edo Period, this expansive garden also hosts numerous workshops and festivals.

The inspiration behind the kaiyū-shiki design

Developed during the peaceful Edo Period, the kaiyū-shiki style invites you to embark on a meditative journey, meandering through varied landscapes. The Cowra Japanese Garden is designed to evoke the entire Japanese landscape, from sea to mountains, within its 12-acre perimeter.

Workshops and festivals to look out for

The garden hosts numerous cultural activities throughout the year, ranging from tea ceremonies to bonsai workshops. The yearly Sakura Matsuri or ‘Cherry Blossom Festival’ showcases a range of Japanese performances, demonstrations, and exhibits.

Travel tips for first-time visitors

Summers can be harsh while winters quite chilly, making spring (blooming season) and autumn (foliage season) the best times to visit. Also, consider wearing sun protection and carrying a refillable water bottle.

Appreciating Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, USA

Venture again to North America, this time to Portland, USA. The Portland Japanese Garden, designed by Professor Takuma Tono, is considered the best Japanese Garden outside Japan.

Why it’s considered the best Japanese Garden outside Japan

This beautiful garden is a result of the meticulous design by professor Tono, a revered landscape architect. It embraces five unique styles of Japanese gardens, each offering a unique interpretation of nature and the universe.

Professor Takuma Tono’s design contributions

Design elements like lanterns, bridges, and a large variety of plants are placed deliberately in groups of three to reflect peace, harmony, and reverence. The combination of these elements creates an atmosphere of spirituality and tranquillity.

Useful info for prospective tourists

Accurate weather predictions, appropriate clothing, and sufficient time are all necessary for thoroughly enjoying your visit. Be prepared to walk and climb on uneven stone paths and stairs.

The Gift of Kyoto Garden, Holland Park – London, UK

Back in Europe, take in the serene atmosphere of Kyoto Garden in Holland Park, London. This tranquil oasis was gifted by the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce in 1991 as a mark of the Japan-UK friendship.

The story behind the garden’s founding

The garden was established to commemorate the long standing friendship between Japan and the UK. It was specifically designed to exude a sense of peaceful coexistence, a defining characteristic of Japanese culture.

Special attention to the rock waterfall

The garden’s crowning glory is the rock waterfall, which cascades into a koi-filled pond. The waterfall, along with the stone lanterns and commanding trees breathe life into this Island of tranquility.

Guide to exploring Holland Park’s Japanese treasure

The garden is open throughout the year and entry is free, although closing times may vary with seasons. Please respect the tranquillity of the space and refrain from feeding the birds or fishing in the pond.

Exploring Shofuso Japanese House and Garden – Philadelphia, USA

Transiting back to Philadelphia, USA, Shofuso Japanese House and Garden takes the spotlight as a vivid portrayal of Japanese culture in the United States.

How this garden reflects Japanese history

The garden presents a reflection of over a century of Japanese culture in Philadelphia, charting the history and development of Japanese-style gardens abroad. The Shofuso House, a traditional style Japanese building, hosts many traditional events and shows each year.

Highlighting traditional events and shows

You can participate in a variety of traditional Japanese activities, such as tea ceremonies, ikebana flower shows, and even haiku classes. These annual events bring Japanese culture to life, making your experience authentic and immersive.

Ensuring a fulfilling visit to Shofuso

Ensure you plan ahead and check the schedule for any upcoming special events that might pique your interest. Also, consider packing a picnic as there are several spots within the park ideal for relaxing and enjoying the surroundings.

The Zen Japanese Garden of Contemplation, Hamilton Gardens – Waikato, New Zealand

Taking the journey down under, the Hamilton Gardens in Waikato, New Zealand harbor the Zen Japanese Garden of Contemplation. This garden is inspired by the dry karesansui gardens of the Muromachi period.

Influence of the dry karesansui gardens

The minimalist karesansui style, also known as Zen gardens, use rocks and raked gravel to symbolize various aspects of the natural world. In this Garden of Contemplation, the raked gravel represents the vast ocean, and the mossy rocks – islands.

Interpreting the garden’s cultural representation

This simple yet profound depiction, combined with the careful use of space and scale, brings to life the Zen Buddhist philosophy of simplicity and tranquility. It offers insights into Japanese aesthetics and the art of meditation.

Visiting the Hamilton Garden’s Asian jewel

The garden is open every day and entry is free. Allow ample time for a relaxed, thought-provoking visit, as this garden is about introspection and peaceful contemplation more than visual spectacle.

Discovering the Chinese & Japanese Gardens – Singapore

Explore further into Asia with a visit to the Chinese & Japanese Gardens, located on an artificial island on Jurong Lake, Singapore. This place is a unique synthesis of two prominent Oriental garden styles.

Unique features of the artificial island

The island is home to several attractions such as the exquisite Bonsai Garden, the Statue of Confucius, and the Live Turtle and Tortoise Museum. Not to forget the seven-storey Cloud Piercing Pagoda which frames the iconic Singapore skyline.

What to expect in terms of wildlife

Even though these gardens are highly urban, they are still host to many species of birds and even monitor lizards! Keep your cameras ready for some spectacular wildlife sightings.

Planning a trip to Jurong Lake’s garden

The gardens are open every day from early morning to evening and the entrance is free. Make sure to set aside at least half a day to fully appreciate its beauty. Bear in mind the tropical climate of Singapore and stay hydrated!

Seasonal Splendour of Japanese Garden, Clingendael Park – The Hague, Netherlands

Finally, head back to Europe and indulge in the ephemeral beauty of the Japanese Garden in Clingendael Park, The Hague, Netherlands. Founded by Marguérite M. Baroness van Brienen, this treasure trove is only open for a limited period in spring and autumn.

Story behind the garden’s limited open periods

To protect the unique and fragile nature of the garden, it is only open for 8 weeks a year, in the months of April-June and October. Despite these restrictions, it manages to draw thousands of visitors each year.

How Lady Daisy brought Japan to Netherlands

The garden was the brainchild of Marguérite M. Baroness van Brienen, also known as Lady Daisy. Deeply influenced by her several voyages to Japan, she introduced many Japanese plants and garden elements back to The Hague, creating the only Japanese Garden in the Netherlands.

Ideal visiting periods and travel tips

Coordinating your visit with the limited opening periods lets you witness the breathtaking spring bloom or the fiery autumnal hues. Dress appropriately for the cool, rainy Dutch weather, and don’t forget to bring your camera!

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Written by Kelly Kennedy

I'm Kelly Kennedy, the author behind Japanese Garden Craft. As a lover of Japanese gardening, I've dedicated myself to cultivating knowledge and sharing it with others. With a focus on providing in-depth reviews and insights, I aim to be a comprehensive source for all things related to Japanese gardening tools and techniques. Trustworthy reviews of various tools, from essentials to specialized items, are created by experts in the field. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned landscaper, my instructional content covers everything from the basics to advanced techniques. Let's embark on a journey to create your own serene Japanese garden together.

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