Origins of the Garden
In 1619, Asano Nagakira became the lord of Aki province and he began ruling as the Daimyo from Hiroshima Castle. Despite ruling all of modern Hiroshima Prefecture and more, his villa lacked a garden worthy of a prominent ruler of Japan. As a result, a year later, his principal retainer and famous master of the tea ceremony, Ueda Soko, started construction of the Diamyo's new garden.
The garden is said to have initially been designed as a miniaturized landscape of Lake Xihu (West Lake) in Hangzhou, China. But, a quick comparison of the shape of Xihu and Shukkeien's main pond, Takuei, shows very little similarity. In any case, the garden is a circular-tour style that emerged in the Muromachi period (1336-1568).
The gardens, like most of Hiroshima, suffered considerably in 1945. Even in its shattered state, a number of victims of the blast sought refuge here. The Hiroshima Board of Education immediately started repairs to restore the garden.
Today, around 300,000 visitors come to enjoy the gardens each year. While it isn't considered one of the top three gardens in Japan, it is worth a visit if you have an extra hour or so in Hiroshima.
Tea Ceremony - 茶会
The Shukkeien Garden holds tea ceremonies all year round. Most months have at least one special tea ceremony that takes place during that month.
- January - Daifuku (大福茶会) - Bean jam stuffed rice cake tea ceremony
- February - Umemi (梅見茶会) - Plum blossom viewing tea ceremony
- March - Momomi (桃見茶会) - Peach blossom viewing tea ceremony
- April - Kanou (観桜茶会) - Cherry blossom viewing tea ceremony
- May - Chyatsumi (茶摘茶会) - Tea harvesting tea ceremony
- June - Jyoubu (じょうぶ茶会) - Good health tea ceremony
- June - Taue-Matsuri (田植まつり) - Rice Planting Festival
- August - Nouryou (納涼茶会) - Evening tea ceremony
- September - Keirou (敬老茶会) - Respect for elders tea ceremony
- September - Kangetsu (観月茶会) - Moon viewing tea ceremony
- November - Kikumi (菊見茶会) - Chrysanthemum viewing tea ceremony
- December - Momiji (もみじ茶会) - Japanese maple tea ceremony
This chart shows the approximate flowering times of the major flowers in the garden. '<' and '>' indicate the flower is in bloom towards the end of the month or the beginning of the month.
These dates are not perfect as flowers bloom when they want to.
The Shukkeien Gardens is directly north of Hiroshima Castle and a short 10 minute walk from Hiroshima Station. The route from between the station and the garden is well marked with signposts in English and Japanese.
Posted: April 19, 2011 Updated: February 21, 2015