Sankei Tomitaro Hara’s garden of historic charm

An Elegant, peaceful scenery is what will greet you as you enter this historic Japanese garden that was created by a successful Yokohama businessman in 1902 during the Meiji era.

This was the era when the Japanese society moved from being an isolated feudal society to its modern form.

Sankei Tomitaro Hara, the owner of the Sankeien garden built his fortune through the silk business. It took him 20 years from 1902 to construct the garden which covers an area of 175,000 square meters.

Seventeen old buildings of historic value are skilfully arranged that goes in harmony with the seasonal changes of the natural scenery.

The outer garden was open in 1906 and comes bursting with flowers that will greet you from the main entrance before the landmark; a three story Pagoda tower, built 550 years ago, that overlooks the lake.

The Old Tomyoji tower was moved to the garden in 1914 from Kyoto and is the main attraction through the seasons. This iconic landmark is on the cups used in the Sankei memorial where the traditional tea ritual is held.

The inner garden was open to the public in 1958 which comprises of historic buildings. It was the private garden of the Hara family, including one of which is a vacation home that was built 350 years ago.

Located on land facing the Tokyo Bay, the garden recently had 10 journalists from member countries of the Asia Development bank visit.

A traditional tea ceremony was the highlight of the visit for the group of Journalists who went through the Chanoyu or tea ceremony ritual before greetings were exchanged in the visitor’s language.

A choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese maccha green tea was done for the visitors together with traditional Japanese sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea. The Japanese tea ceremony history goes back more than 1,000 years.  

Spring, summer and autumn, are the best time to visit the garden, that is when all the flowers are bursting in their glory. Cherry Blossoms and Iris are usually the main attraction in spring. The water lily and lotus season in summer. 

With just 500 Japanese yen or K14 for admission, and a city bus ride of 35, minutes from the Yokohama station, it’s an experience you wouldn’t want to miss when in Japan’s Yokohama city.

Picture: Cherry Blossom night view of the garden with the landmark temple.



Sally Pokiton