Koko-En fall color (Larger)

Koko-en was constructed in 1992 at the foot of Himeji castle where Samurai residences stood during the Edo period.  Its construction commemorated the 100th anniversary of Himeji City.  It is named after the Koko do provincial school, founded by Lord Sakai in 1692.

There are 9 individual gardens,  including Oyashiki-no-niwa (‘Feudal Lord’s Residence Garden’) and Cha-no-niwa (Tea Garden) with its Sukiya-style tea house, Soju-an.   There is also Summer Tree Garden (a garden of deciduous trees), Hill & Pond garden, a garden of flowers popular during the Edo Period, and Garden of the Stream.

From the official online website:

  • This garden, Himeji “Koko-en”, was constructed in 1992 to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of Himeji municipality.Himeji “Koko-en” is composed of nine separate gardens, making use of the exact former site of where “Nishi-Oyashiki” (the lord’s west residence) and other samurai houses once existed. The original location was confirmed through seven archeological excavations.Professor Makoto Nakamura of Kyoto University supervised the planning and designing of this garden.
  • The name “Koko-en” is derived from “Koko-do” the name of Japan’s sixth provincial school founded in 1692 in Himeji by the last Lord of Himeji, Sakai family.All of the nine separate gardens show the essence of the Edo period. The following are some of the many splendors which can be found here. Among attractions, “Oyasiki-no-niwa”, the garden of the lord’s house, comes first.Second , “Cha-no-niwa”, the garden of tea, has an elaborate tea house, where you can enjoy an authentic tea ceremony. Next, several mud walls with roof tiles on were built as replicas of original walls located here.There is also a “Nagaya-Gate” which bestows upon viewers the historical feeling of the Edo period. In addition, from Nagare-no-hiraniwa you can enjoy excellent views of the main keep and the West Bailey of Himeji Castle. Finally strolling through the gardens, you can appreciate beautiful trees and flowers of four seasons, the rapids and waterfalls, and covered walkways built of Japanese cypress.

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