Monday, 16 March 2015

Mito Kairakuen - Part 1: Entering the garden

A day trip to the garden of Kairakuen with the girls on Saturday. Kairakuen is one of the three major landscape gardens of Japan and is famous for its plum trees, in full blossom this week up north where it is a bit colder than in Tokyo (expecting cherry blossoms very soon).

It is of course a tourist attraction, and Japan knows very well how to make a place attractive to tourists. All the main elements are there and it never fails. The seasonal festival, the "plum sisters" to take photos with, the themed shrine, the food stands, the bento boxes, the games for kids, the souvenir shops.

Those are the stairs and the gate of the shrine, but we'll get back to that later on...

The place looks deserted but this was around 10am before the crowd. It's always so much better to arrive early before the buses.

More food. And we haven't entered the garden yet!

Photographing the Plum Queen?

Each of the 3000 trees of the garden is labeled and numbered, with its name, age, and sometimes additional information. Some trees of particular interest also have their own special name (e.g. Moon Shadow).

Bao Zhen's delicate hands taking a snapshot with her phone. Lucky the weather was gorgeous and the sky gently blue. 
To be continued….


  1. I will have one green tea mochi and one strawberry mochi please......

    love that photo of the pretty hands and tree...and camera phone....

    I want to visit...

  2. Thank you Pamela! I see you know your Japanese treats very well :-) Now is a good time to visit Tokyo, sakura time soon! Hop on a plane!

  3. Just wonderful :-) - but a place to be alone?? I know I too would be a tourist, but somehow one wants to be The Only One there. How old is the oldest tree?

  4. Having the garden for oneself would be wonderful! I could also imagine walking around alone in the middle of tourists and being very much alone with myself. A bit like walking around alone in Tokyo. If that makes any sense :-)
    The garden was built in 1841, but I forgot how old the oldest tree is. Not all of them were planted "from scratch", some were taken in from other places. It would be a great place for you to see!

  5. Your photos convey the moment, and expectations in the air. Lovely trip! How clever to come home with a plum bonsai! Big responsibility :)

  6. Hello Carette, and thank you! The bonsai is doing great as we speak, I cross fingers. You're right, it's a responsibility. It feels a bit like the fox and the Little Prince, if you see what I mean? I want more responsibilities! :-))