Koko-en is a Japanese garden overlooked by Himeji Castle on the other side of the castle moat. Its proximity to Himeji Castle allows visitors to enjoy the serenity of a Japanese garden after visiting the castle. Indeed, the peacefulness of the garden is an ideal complement to the castle’s symbolic reminder of Japan’s often violent feudal history.
At only 3.5 hectares, Koko-en is a relatively small garden, but once inside the gates the impression conveyed is that of a larger space, which is a credit to the designers. The garden was constructed in 1992 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Himeji municipality, thus is relatively new. Nevertheless, It is historically linked to Himeji Castle in that it occupies the former site of the feudal lord’s west residence.
The photographs shown here are of the garden of the lord’s residence, one of Koko-en’s nine walled gardens and arguably the most visually impressive with features including a pond stocked with Japanese Koi fish, waterfalls, bridges and pavilions.
Whenever I visit Japanese gardens I enjoy the beauty of their apparent simplicity whilst, at the same time, recognising the complexity of achieving this impression. The elements may be basic and elemental, but their arrangement creates living and evolving masterpieces. For example, the concrete spans used to cross water (pics 7 and 10) are not only functional; they become key focal points especially when subtly arched as in the span at Koko-en.
Enjoying beautiful gardens is one of life’s simple pleasures and if you agree, make a commitment to visit a nearby garden soon, whether of Japanese or other style.
(Please click on any of the following images for an enlarged view.)
February 23, 2018 at 9:46 pm
Lovely photos John! Garden looks even more gorgeous than I remember. Autumn foliage really adds something special.
February 23, 2018 at 10:21 pm
Autumn is a beautiful time of year, especially when the maples are changing colour.
February 23, 2018 at 10:09 pm
Beautiful photos and colours! This makes me miss autumn so much!
February 23, 2018 at 10:23 pm
I know the feeling. Melbourne is starting to show early signs of Autumn, but it can never compare to the Japanese colours.
February 24, 2018 at 3:42 pm
Beautiful pictures, as always!
Here in Japan the plums (ume) have started to blossom and they will be followed by the cherry trees. Can’t wait!
February 24, 2018 at 9:17 pm
Thank you Raveca. I’ve seen some photos of the ume and it seems they are an excellent prelude to the cherry blossoms that will soon be appearing. The way Japan celebrates the seasons (and sub-seasons) through different blooms is quite unique.