Shukkeien (縮景園), a Japanese garden near JR Hiroshima Station, is said to be the garden that captures the beauty of China’s West Lake (西湖). With that being said, some might think the garden must be of a Chinese style. That isn’t the case!
Completed in 1620 as the garden of the villa for the first lord of Hiroshima Domain – Asano Nagaakira (浅野長晟), Shukkeien is a garden that demonstrates the charms of a Japanese strolling garden throughout the year.
As a garden designated to be one of the National Places of Scenery Beauty (名勝), its admission fee is extremely kind to your wallet. The garden’s stunning scenery is worth a lot more than what you pay at the entrance!
Shukkeien was designed by the vassals of the Asano Clan and also the tea master – Ueda Sōko (上田 宗箇). As a great military commander, he is also known for his calmness. For example, he made tea scoops while waiting for the arrival of his enemies (´▽｀*).
In the beginning, the garden was called Osensui (お泉水) or Sentei (泉邸), both have the meaning of water. Based on the preface of the poem written by the famous Confucian scholar Hayashi Razan (林 羅山) for the second lord of the Hiroshima Domain, it was renamed “Shukkeien”. The preface basically praises the scenery of the garden that condenses the beauty of the sea and mountains which can be seen in the villa (海山をその地に縮め風景をこの楼に聚む).
Since the completion of the garden, it has undergone a couple of renovations and restorations until the atomic bomb destroyed it in 1945.
Thanks to its reconstruction, which took around 30 years, the garden was able to celebrate its 400th anniversary in 2020.
Shukkeien Throughout the Year
One of the good things about building a garden from scratch is you can meticulously plan what flowers should be planted where, so throughout the four seasons, the garden is brimming with color.
This is why nowadays when you visit Shukkeien, you will always be amazed by its charm!
For the flowering calendar of Shukkeien, please refer to the official website HERE and change the language to English using the language drop-down menu on the left of the page.
Takuei Pond (濯纓池)
One of the highlights of Shukkeien is the Takuei Pond. The small islands in the ponds have names associated with longevity, such as Crane (Tsurujima, 鶴島) or Turtle (Kamejima, 亀島).
Sourcing the water from Kyōbashi River (京橋川), near Hiroshima Bay, the water in Takuei Pond is a mixture of fresh water and seawater. This is why you can see both freshwater and saltwater fish in Shukkeien!
Another good thing about connecting the pond with a river is that tourists get to the garden by water taxi!
For more information, please refer to Shukkeien’s access information below.
In addition, does the white arch bridge, Kokōkyō Bridge (跨虹橋), look old to you? You are right! That bridge existed for more than 240 years. It is so strong it survived the blast of an atomic bomb Σ(ﾟДﾟ).
For other charms of Shukkeien, please go to the official website HERE. Again, change the language to English.
Although normally not open to the public unless there are special events, Seifūkan is the biggest tea ceremony venue/building in Shukkeien.
Completed in 1964, it is the most important building in the garden. Other facilities in Shukkien, such as the tea rooms, feature designs based on Seifūkan.
Events and Festivals at Shukkeien
Shukkeien is a garden subdivided into many areas. This enables various events to be held throughout the year!
On top of the cherry blossom and autumn foliage festivals, there is even a Tea Picking Festival in spring and various tea ceremonies held throughout the year (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
To find out what is on, refer to their event calendars HERE!
Shukkeien’s Opening Hours, Admission Fee, and Access Information
- Shukkeien is open from
- 9 am to 6 pm from the 16th of March to the 15th of September
- 9 am to 5 pm from the 16th of September to the 15th of March
- The garden is closed from the 29th to the 31st of December.
- The admission fee for Shukkeien is
- 260 yen for adults
- 150 yen for senior high school and university students
- 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students
- You can also get a Shukkeien and Hiroshima Prefectural Museum (広島県立美術館) set ticket for 610 yen for adults and 350 yen for university students.
- From Hiroshima Station (広島駅), the garden is a 5 to 10-minute walk.
- From Atomic Bomb Dome, take Hiroshima Dentetsu (広島電鉄) and get off at Shukkeien-mae (縮景園前).
- Refer to the route map HERE.
- From Hiroshima Station’s Shinkansen Entrance (広島駅新幹線口), you can take the Loop Bus Hiroshima Meipuru-pu’s (広島市内循環バス めいぷる～ぷ) Orange Route and get off at Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum (Shukkeien) (県立美術館前 (縮景園前)).
- Refer HERE for the bus fare, route map, and timetable.
- You can also take a water taxi from Peace Memorial Park – Hiroshima to Shukkeien. Although it will cost a lot more than taking Hiroshima Dentsu or the City Loop Bus, the admission fee to Shukkeien will be waived!
- For more information, please refer to the official website HERE and translate the webpage with Google Chrome’s translation function to the right of the address bar.
- Please be aware that advanced booking is required at least one day in advance to board it on a weekday.
- On weekends and public holidays, it is still recommended to inquire in advance as the departure time varies according to the tide level of the day.
Hiroshima Prefectural Museum (広島県立美術館)
Just next to the gorgeous Shukkeien Garden, the Hiroshima Prefectural Museum houses over 4,000 pieces of amazing traditional and contemporary Japanese and Asia-wise artworks.
At the observatory lobby, you will get a panorama view of Shukkeien (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
For more information about the exhibition, please refer to the official website HERE. Remember to choose “English” before clicking on “MORE” under the museum logo.
Find out Where Else to Go in Hiroshima City Center
Apart from Hiroshima Castle, there are also a couple of attractions in the city center that are worth your time.
Please refer to our Hiroshima City article to find out what they are and how to get there. The article also has information about the Atomic Bomb Dome and the Peace Memorial Park (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.