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Kairakuen Garden, lying alongside Senba Lake in Ibaraki Prefecture’s capital city Mito, is one of  Japan’s Three Great Gardens. The prefecture is situated in the Kanto region’s north east, a place well-known for its natto, pottery and as being the birthplace of Aikido, a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba.

Reaching Senba Lake and Kairakuen Garden

From Shinjuku Station, using the JR Lines, it takes around two hours to arrive at Mito Station. Then, you can walk 2.5 kilometers while enjoying the rural area and its relaxing atmosphere.

What makes Kairakuen special?

The plum blossoms at Kairakuen (偕楽園), unlike the other two local gardens, were first appreciated by both the local lord Tokugawa Nariaki and the commoners that resided around Mito at that time. Built in the year 1841, Kairakuen remains a tourist attraction throughout the year. However, it is highly recommended to visit the garden during March, since a hundred varieties of plum trees (梅 ume) can be seen blooming at that time. In such a season, Kairakuen Garden slowly slips its way into the hearts of the wandering visitors with its blossoming plum flowers.

Kairakuen, Japanese garden entrance

Entrance to Kairakuen garden.

Kairakuen Garden is open free to the public. However, if you want to visit a Japanese-styled house (こぶんていKobuntei) built inside the garden, you must pay a 200 yen fee. The Garden remains open from 06:00 until 19:00 (18:00 pm in winter) while the Kobuntei opens from 09:00 to 17:00 (16:30 pm during winter).

Kobuntei, where one can get an excellent garden view

Kobuntei house on the Kairakuen Garden grounds, where plum blossoms can be seen, Ibaraki prefectureKobuntei

Kobuntei is an old Japanese-styled house built into three stories. The house, constructed in the year 1945, has its name derived from the word “Japanese plum” (Kobun). With an open view of nearby Senba Lake alongside the entire Kairakuen Garden, visitors can observe the Japan’s changing seasons through natural plants and flowers from the highest floor.

Kairakuen Garden view aside Senba Lake from Kobuntei, no plum blossoms during summer, Ibaraki prefectureKairakuen in summer.

The plum blossoms alongside Senba Lake as seen from Kairakuen Garden outlook spot Kobuntei house, Ibaraki prefectureKairakuen during plum season.

Kairakuen Garden household, away from the plum blossoms & Senba Lake view, Ibaraki prefectureJapanese architecture.

Kobuntei has some renown for having various rooms decorated with a flower theme. Among the rooms are the Chrysanthemum room, the Peach room, the Sakura room, and, of course, the plum blossoms of the Plum flower room.

Kairakuen Garden Plum Flower room dabbed with countless plum blossoms like those nearby Senba Lake, Ibaraki prefecturePlum flower room.

Kairakuen Garden, the Chrysanthemum room, Ibaraki PrefectureChrysanthemum room.

Senba lake

From Kairakuen, it takes around 15 minutes walking westward to Senba Lake. It has a three-kilometer circumference – suitable for a relaxing stroll.

Plum blossoms gone from Kairakuen Garden by Senba Lake, Ibaraki PrefectureSenba Lake.

Semba Lake sunset over Kairakuen Garden with absent plum tree blossoms, Ibaraki prefectureSenba Lake during sunset.

Moreover, Senba Lake has many ducks and swans. You can either feed them with food available at 100 yen or so, or rent a boat for a closer look.

Senba Lake duck feeding nearby Kairakuen Garden, Ibaraki PrefectureFeeding ducks and swans.

Senba Lake has many white swans flocking nearby plum blossoms over Kairakuen Garden, Ibaraki prefectureA white swan of Senba Lake.

Duck swimming over Senba Lake with Kairakuen Garden backdrop, Ibaraki PrefectureDuck approaching.

Note: For a better experience, you should rent a row boat (only 700yen for 30 minutes). Comparatively, the swan boat is fairly expensive (1500 yen for 30 minutes.) Swans will approach you immediately if you bring bread or soft buns. Be careful! They can be very aggressive.

Tokiwa Jinja shrine

A Shinto shrine that abuts Kairakuen Garden.

Solemn Tokiwa Jinja shrine abutting Kairakuen Garden, uncolored by plum blossoms, Ibaraki PrefectureTokiwa Jinja shrine.

Name Kairakuen Garden
Category Garden
Address Kairakuen, 1 Chome Tokiwacho, Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture 310-0033
Access [map]Kairakuen, 1 Chome Tokiwacho, Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture 310-0033[/map]
Opening Hours 06:00 - 19:00 (07:00 - 18:00 in winter )
Price Range Free (200 yen for Kobuntei)
Payment options Cash
Nguyen Thanh

Nguyen Thanh

Vietnamese. 18. Keio University class of 2019. I do not have any root under my feet, so I cannot stay in one place. Main focus right now: Discovering rural areas in Japan, using cheapest means possible. Also, to enjoy local food !

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