For this year’s autumn colors outing, how about visiting a popular tourist spot in Hiroshima? Only a 15-minute walk from Hiroshima Station, the fantastic Shukkei-en Japanese garden is easily accessible. Built in 1620 at the villa of the feudal lord of Hiroshima, Nagaakira Asano, it was designed by Asano’s chief retainer and famed tea ceremony master, Soko Ueda.
Entering the gates of the garden takes you back in time to the Edo period and its charming garden environment. The beautiful and serene nature of the area helps you forget all the hustle and bustle of the surrounding city. From November 19th to 30th, there is also an autumn color festival.
Famous Bridge Kokokyo
One thing you do have to do when visiting Shukkei-en is cross Kokokyo bridge. The seventh feudal lord of Hiroshima, Akira Shige, had this arch-shaped bridge built by skilled artisans who used bold, groundbreaking methods to construct it. The perfect spot to take a commemorative photo.
The garden pond is quite large, and many people feed the carp that swim around. (A shop selling carp feed is located close to the bridge.)
No matter where you take photos in Shukkei-en, everywhere is photogenic. It might be just that I used to love maple leaf-shaped manjuu (steamed buns) as a child, but I feel a particular closeness to the maple trees when autumn and the autumn colors come around. In addition to maple trees, there are also ginkgo trees, camilia sinensis, sasanqua camilia, Japanese camilia and other trees and plants.
Lunch Under Scarlet Parasols
A pleasant slow-paced walk around the garden takes about an hour. Selling udon and rice balls, as well as the popular matcha tea and rice dumplings, Sensuitei cafe offers a quiet spot to take a break. Everything on the scarlet tablecloth looks amazing and tastes great. To find Sensuitei, just look for its red parasols!
The cafe is also popular among foreign tourists. Personally, I sometimes just come here for the matcha tea. The garden is also popular among locals, who use it as a place to relax and regain strength.
Autumn Color Festival At Night
The autumn colors during the day are of course beautiful, but the night illumination scenery is simply fantastic! The autumn color festival is held from November 23rd to the 30th, and lasts until 21:00 (last entrance is 30 minutes before closing).
Keeping visitors and their cameras busy for many hours, from morning to evening Shukkei-en is packed with stunning scenes of autumn color. Put on some warm clothes and come and experience its fantastic beauty for yourself. I guarantee it is well worth it!
Address: 2-11 Kaminoboricho, Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture
Admission: General admission 260 yen. High school & university students 150 yen. Junior high school & elementary school children 100 yen.
April 1st – September 30th 9:00 – 18:00 (last entrance 30 minutes before closing).
October 1st – March 31st 9:00 – 17:00 (last entrance 30 minutes before closing).
Autumn Color Festival: November 19th – 30th, 2016.
Illumination: November 23rd – 30th, from 9:00 – 21:00 (last entrance 30 minutes before closing).
Closed: December 29th – 31st.
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Sakiko Mizuguchi
Sakiko Mizuguchi I was born in 1978 and grew up in Shizuoka Prefecture. I used to work in marketing at an Internet company in Tokyo, but in 2014, when my first child reached school age, we moved to Hiroshima, my husband's hometown. We now have two children. I love camping and bonfires, Setouchi fruits and the beauty of the islands. Setouchi is rich in natural experiences and it's easy to raise children here. I spend my days enjoying life together with my children.
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