Sankei-en Garden

This venerable garden in Yokohama has a huge pond and a lot of interesting historical buildings, including a spectacular pagoda. It makes for a fine, meandering walk in any season, with interesting views, bridges and cultural tidbits around every corner. And if we’re lucky, we might spot one of the the resident kingfishers!

Sankeien is home to these gorgeous little kingfishers, and you can easily tell if one is making an appearance by the presence of fully tripodded cameramen with hecka huge lenses pointing right at the star attraction
Winding paths and multiple bridges connect the various parts of the park, with picturesque traditional buildings sprinkled throughout
There is a thatch-roofed farmhouse you can go inside and see how people lived in the days before electricity
Teahouses are everywhere, and often there are groups of women in formal kimonos strolling to and from their tea ceremonies
Little details like this stone basin…
…and this cupola on a bridge deliver delightful surprises around every bend.
Sankeien is awfully nice when the azaleas and wisteria are blooming (late April through early May)…
…and is known for its plantings of iris, which come into full bloom at the beginning of June.
But Sankei-en is especially glorious when the vast lotus pond is in bloom in July
There are special early opening hours so you can view the flowers before they close up again, along with demonstrations of things I did not know you could do with a lotus leaf
As you walk from the bus stop to the garden entrance, you might see this funny little shrine on the left-hand side of the street.
Are those scrub brushes on the shrine’s altar? Believe it or not, these kame no tawashi – traditional turtle-shaped scrub brushes – are there to be borrowed if you’re suffering from a cold! Take one home, scrub the outside of your throat with it, buy another one just like it and return both of them to the shrine. Does it work? Well, there are quite a pile of them, and some look quite new, so…

Open: Every day, closed 12/31-1/3

Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last admission 16:30)

Admission: Adult (high school and older): ¥700, Children (elementary and middle school age): ¥200


Here’s more to do in the neighborhood, while you’re there:

Click here for more

Jonelle Patrick is the author of five novels set in Japan

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

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