As a 2007 participant on a Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund exchange, I had the opportunity to visit the Shukkeien Garden in Hiroshima, Japan. At the time, I did not have much of an interest in gardening or a desire to visit gardens. In many ways that experience was the seeds that have grown into my current interests. I therefore thought it would be appropriate to add this post from my Japan blog to the garden blog.
Map the Shukkeien Garden:
Originally constructed in 1620 as a villa garden during the Edo period for Nagaakira Asano, the ruling Daimyo at the time, it is said to have been modeled after Lake Xihua (West lake) in Hangzhou, China. The garden continued to serve as the villa of the Asano family through the Meiji period. At one point the Meiji Emperor, who had the Imperial General Headquarters relocated to Hiroshima, briefly lodged at the villa. The gardens were eventually opened to the public, and in 1940 the Asano family donated them to Hiroshima Prefecture. Being a short walk from hypocenter of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima, Shukkeien suffered extensive damage and then became a refuge for victims of the war. After extensive renovations, it reopened in 1951. Today, the garden is a magnificent location to view Japan's love of nature, even in the midst of an urban environment.
The pictures below are displayed in the order in which they were taken so as to give you a feeling for the experience of walking through a circular-tour garden (the path I took went counter clockwise):