Kyoto Garden in Holland Park
The top destination for Japanese gardens enthusiasts in London has got to be the outstanding ‘Kyoto Garden’ in Holland Park. This carefully-tended landscaped park (NO picnics on the grass!) features a tumbling waterfall as a centrepiece – so scenic in all seasons.
There are traditional stone lanterns, a rock garden to contemplate, hidden nooks with benches, and koi carp drift lazily around the pond. Take an onigiri and sit on the bench to enjoy the peaceful oasis!
Japan-Inspired Features at Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is an outstanding destination, starring several Japanese and Eastern architectural elements which add interest to their glorious gardens.
‘Chokushi-Mon’ in Kew is a 4/5th replica of the karamon (gate) of Nishi Hongan-ji in Kyoto – 16th Century style of ‘Momoyama’, with finely carved woodwork. It was moved to Kew from Hammersmith Park in 1911!
The garden’s Pagoda was finished in 1762, and is an interesting example of the time’s fashion for ‘Chinoiserie’. It has been loved and loathed over the years, presenting restoration – as well as safety – challenges. Once famous for its exotic, heavy, and eventually rotting wooden dragons, they had long since been removed. But following a restoration by Historic Royal Palaces the dragons are back in place (due to the wonders of 3D printing! Read the fascinating ‘Ian Visits’ blog here). And what’s more, the pagoda is now open to the public in the summer months.
A traditional Japanese ‘Minka’ farmhouse was painstakingly imported from suburb of Okazaki City, and now stands within a gently rustling Bamboo Garden. These features and buildings serve as a backdrop to the countless Japanese plants and flowers that can be discovered all over Kew.
Garden of Peace in Hammersmith Park
In 2018, stone lanterns were added to the entranceway to commemorate the park. The stroll garden has been restored, and there is a rock garden, pond, and forest garden.
SOAS Japanese Rooftop Garden*
A sublime space in the middle of the metropolis can be found in the Japanese Rooftop garden on top of the Brunei Gallery; a place for quiet contemplation and cultural events. Dedicated to forgiveness, the garden is free to enter and is normally open to the public when the Brunei Gallery is open (Tues-Sat 10.30am – 5pm). The gallery is located at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), near Russell Square. *June 2019 info – the garden is currently closed for essential maintenance.
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