kourakuen was originally named Koen because it was built after Okayama Castle was built, but the name was changed to kourakuen in 1871 in consideration of the spirit of the garden’s construction, which was “to suffer first and enjoy later”; it was built in 1687 and completed in 1700, covering an area of about 133,000 square meters. It is one of the three most famous gardens in Japan, along with Kenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa and Kairaku-en in Mito.
The garden was built by the Ikeda family, the feudal lord of Okayama Prefecture during the Edo period, and is one of the few daimyo estates to have preserved important documents such as drawings and letters of the Ikeda family from the Edo period, which are an important basis for understanding the construction style of daimyo estates and the historical changes of the garden. In 1884, the ownership of the park was transferred to Okayama Prefecture, and the park became fully open to the public. The park was destroyed by the 1934 flood and bombing during World War II, but it was restored to its original condition with drawings and diagrams from the Edo period preserved in the park. In 1952, kourakuen was designated as a “Special Scenic Location” by the Cultural Properties Protection Law and managed as a historical and cultural property. kourakuen is a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the gardens and scenery of the various dynasties, as well as the beauty of the landscape in the park.
How to get there
20 minutes drive from Okayama IC
25 minutes on foot from JR Okayama Station
15 minutes by bus from JR Okayama Station to Fujiwara Danchi (Korakuen Exit (East Exit) Bus Terminal No. 1) (Click here for timetable)
From JR Okayama Station, 4 minutes by local train bound for Higashiyama, 10 minutes walk from “Shiroshita” stop.
10 minutes by cab from JR Okayama Station (about 1.8 km)
It was a little late in the season, so we saw late plum blossoms and slightly budding cherry blossoms, but it was very pleasant to walk around the large garden early in the morning. As time went by, the number of visitors gradually increased, so I guess the garden will be crowded with many people during the flower season. It was a pity that I could not see the beautiful flowers, but I thought it would be nice to visit in the season when there are not so many people.