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Koraku-en Park
Okayama and surrounding
Squares, Parks, Gardens
Squares, Parks, Gardens

A small and cozy garden appeared almost at the foot of Okayama Castle in the middle of the 17th century. In 1678, a rich resident of Okayama Ikeda Tsunamasa decided to improve that small corner of nature. The creation of a big and spacious park had lasted there till 1700. That is how Koraku-en Park appeared.

This beautiful natural ensemble was not a social place. It functioned as a place where important guests were welcomed and entertained. This was the luxurious private territory for noble residents and city guests. Common civilians could only peek through the fence to see what the rest of the rich people were like.

In 1863, the park was partly rebuilt. Firstly, its territory was expanded. Secondly, several artificial ponds and fountains were made there. Thirdly, additional tea houses appeared. Almost at the same time, in the 1870s or something, the park got a new name – Koraku-en.

Even though the garden became bigger, it still was used as a place for recreation of the chosen people. Only in 1884, when it was placed under the administration of Okayama prefecture, everyone got the opportunity to get there.

Locals started to like that park which was extremely exquisite and beautiful. Lovers, painters, old couples and families with children came there. Gradually the park became so popular, that it became the third one in the list of the best landscape parks of Japan. It still takes that position.

The space of the park is organized in such a way, that a new view opens to your eyes every time you turn from a lane. It is so interesting to imagine what will be after a new turn: a pond, a tea house, a mountain or a big aviary with cranes. Moreover, from the territory of the garden industrial landscape of the city cannot be seen. So, you may often have a feeling that Koraku-en Park is a different reality separated from the modern noisy megacity.

The garden had to be almost fully restored several times. The first time was in 1934 – after severe flooding. The second – after the bombing in 1945. To save the authenticity of the old park, designers used old paintings of it made in different periods of time by local painters. Thanks to them, the missing objects could be reconstructed with maximum accuracy and to the smallest details.

Address: Koraku-en

Published by

Oksana Shmakova

All content and media files are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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