Shukkeien GardenApprox. Time: 2 hours
Activity Level: Easy to Moderate

A Japanese miniature garden, rich in variety and scenic views. Construction of Shukkeien began in 1620, the year following Asano Nagaakira's installation as Daimyo (feudal lord) of Hiroshima. It was built by his principal retainer, Ueda Soko, a famous master of the tea ceremony, as the garden of Nagaakira's villa. Its name (literally "Shrunken-scenery garden") expresses the idea of collection and miniaturizing many scenic views, and according to tradition it is a miniaturized landscape modeled on Xihu (West Lake) in Hangzhou, China. In the center of Shukkeien is Takuei Pond, containing more than 10 islets large and small. Mountains, valleys, bridges, tea cottages and trees are skillfully arranged in its perimeter, all connected by a path by which one can stroll around the entire garden. Gardens of this type are known as circular-tour gardens. They first appeared in the Muromachi Era (1336-1568). In order to make the land alloted to Shukkeien seem many times larger than its actual size, every part is rich in variety: here a remote mountain and solitary valley, here a broad seashore; blended with the moods of the seasons are a concentrated spectacle and a diversity that truly makes the garden worthy of its name.

Courtsey of Japan Tourism Board.