Okayama Prefecture Okayama Korakuen
岡山県 岡山市 後楽園
Inheriting and preserving a lord’s taste and design
Entering the garden as it opens at half past seven in the morning, I find the remaining traces of the bamboo-twig brooms on the winding pathway, newly swept and purified, wonderfully refreshing. Okayama’s Koraku-en, Mito’s Kairaku-en and Kanazawa’s Kenroku-en are known as the Three Great Gardens of Japan, all of them large-scale gardens created by daimyo (feudal lords) during the Edo period (1603-1868) and designed in the chisen kaiyu style, featuring a path around a central pond and spring. The life of the garden lies in its cleaning and maintenance. As I was born and raised in the castle town of Yumino-cho, close to Koraku-en, I’d grown accustomed to the garden, but when I see it for the first time in many years, after having been away from home, it seems fresh to me, and fills me with pride.