Korakuen Garden

Naka no shima Island

Korakuen Garden in Okayama is a beautiful Japanese landscape garden. It is considered to be one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. The others are Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa and Kairakuen Garden in Mito. Korakuen Garden was constructed between 1687 and 1700. The name “koraku-en” is taken from a Chinese proverb and means ‘the garden for taking pleasure later’.

Korakuen Garden was designed in the Kaiyu Style (scenic promenade), where the gardens are landscaped around a large pond. This style presents the visitor with a new view at every turn of the path that connects the vast lawns, ponds, hills, tea houses and streams. It is famous for its expanse of flat lawn (rare in Japan), attractive ponds, running streams, pine trees, tea-houses and tea plantation and rice fields. You can also find groves of plum, cherry and maple trees.

The extensive lawn and various ponds create an uplifting and relaxing atmosphere that add to the charm of this magnificent garden. Korakuen Garden is located right next to Okayama Castle, which is incorporated into the gardens design.

Okayama Castle from Korakuen Garden

What to See at Korakuen Garden

Sawa no ike Pond

Sawa no ike Pond is the largest pond at Korakuen Garden. It contains the Naka no shima Island, Mino shima Island, and Jarijima Island.

Sawa no ike Pond at Korakuen

Naka no shima Island

Naka no shima Island features the Shima jaya tea-house.

Green Pine Trees on Naka no Shima Island

Jarijima Island

Jarijima Island features beautiful white sand and green pine trees.

Stone Lantern on Jarijima Island

Ryuten Pavilion

The Ryuten Pavilion is a wooden pavilion that straddles a stream. It has a simple appearance and was used as a resting place for the daimyo on his strolls through the garden.

Ryuten Pavilion at Korakuen

Seidan Rice Fields

The Seidan Rice Fields are just a taste of the rice fields that used to be spread through-out the garden. They were made at the end of the Edo Period.

Korakuen Seidan Rice Fields

Tea Plantations

You can see rows of beautifully trimmed tea trees at the tea plantation. They are an ancient variety of tea with a slightly bitter taste.

Tea Fields at Korakuen

History of Korakuen Garden

Construction of the garden began in 1687 by the ruling Ikeda daimyo (domain lord) as a private garden to Okayama Castle. It was completed in 1700 and has retained its original appearance even today. There have only been a few small changes by the various daimyo over the years, and these can be seen thanks to the many Edo Period paintings and Ikeda Family records that were left behind. The garden is 11 hectares (28 acres) large. It was built mainly as a place for entertainment and receiving important guests.

The garden was open to the public in 1884 when it passed into the hands of Okayama Prefecture. In 1952, Korakuen Garden was designated as a “Special Scenic Location”.
Korakuen Garden Map

Opening Hours

Korakuen Garden is open from
7:30 am to 6:00 pm (April – September)
8:00 am to 5:00 pm (October – March)
The garden is open all year round

Entry Fee

Admission to the Garden is 400 yen for adults and 140 yen for children

How to Get There

It is about a 25 min walk from Okayama Station
You can take the Higashiyama tram from Okayama Station to the Shiroshita stop (140 yen), or take an Okaden bus from bus stand 5 at Okayama Station to Korakuen mae bus stop (150 yen).

Address: 1-5 Korakuen, Kita-ku, Okayama-shi, Okayama

View Larger Map

Best Time to Go

Korakuen Garden can be visited all year round but is beautiful in spring with the plum and cherry trees and autumn with the maple trees.

Tip: Okayama Castle is located close by and you can pick up a combined ticket for both attractions for 560 yen.

The Garden is lit up during the summer for 2 weeks, which make them a spectacular sight.

Photo Gallery

John Asano (100 Posts)

John Asano is a blogger, traveler and freelance writer living in Gifu, Japan. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, he has lived in Japan now for over 12 years. John loves nothing better than picking up his camera and exploring all the amazing sights and attractions that Japan has to offer. He writes about the must see sights and attractions in Japan at Japan Travel Advice, as well as about Japanese culture and modern life on his blog Japan Australia. You can read more of his work at http://japan-australia.blogspot.com/

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  • John

    This looks like a must see. Together with the castle. Will the JR pass get us here?

    • http://japantraveladvice.com/ Japan Travel Advice

      Korakuen Garden and Okayama Castle are must see places and rank as some of the best sights in Japan. You can see both in a day and can use the JR pass to get to Okayama. They are both around a 25 minute walk from Okayama Station.

      • John

        Thank you. We will put this into our schedule. Question for you, where is the best place to look for cheap accommodation for Japan? And should we base ourselves the whole time in one spot and do trips from there? Regards John

        • http://japantraveladvice.com/ Japan Travel Advice

          Really depends on where you plan to visit. Tokyo is a great base for the Kanto region and day trips to places like Nikko, Kamakura and Hakone. Osaka or Kyoto is a great base for the Kansai region, etc. I like the business hotels they have in Japan like the Toyoko Inn. Cheap, free breakfast and internet and located all over Japan.

          • John

            It really depends on the cost. For 7 weeks it will be to expensive to keep staying in hotels or similar. We have found a place for just under 70,000 yen in Funabashi. How would that be for a base HQ point?

          • http://japantraveladvice.com/ Japan Travel Advice

            Funabashi in Chiba doesn’t seem too bad. You are just over an hour away from downtown Tokyo on the train. It would be an OK spot for the Kanto region and you can get on the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, etc.