In this article we will be introducing a little-known Japanese garden called Rakusuien, located right near Hakata station in Fukuoka. It's a relaxing facility great for visitors who wish to learn about Japanese culture!
The gateway to the Kyushu region, Hakata, is always bustling with business people on weekdays and sightseers on the weekends. Did you know that in this area full of tall buildings you can find a quiet and peaceful spot to relax? Today we'll be introducing Rakusuien Garden, a spot we highly recommend for a rest from the busy area of Hakata.
A Little-Known Garden - Rakusuien
On this day, we had Fukuoka local Nita from Finland, and Albert, a study abroad student from Zimbabwe, join us. They are both currently living in Fukuoka, but neither of them had ever been to Rakusuien. The garden is a little-known spot, even among Fukuoka residents. "I didn't know there was a Japanese garden in Hakata!" Both of them seemed pretty excited.
What Is Rakusuien?
Rakusuien was originally a mansion of a Hakata trader over 100 years ago. It was later used as a ryokan (Japanese inn), and after maintenance by the city of Fukuoka, it became a public garden. There are other Japanese gardens in Fukuoka, but Rakusuien is especially recommended as a sightseeing spot. In addition to being a beautiful garden, it is conveniently located near Hakata station and the large shopping complex Canal City Hakata. Its cheap entrance fee of 100 yen per adult is also a factor of its popularity.
4 Must-See Spots in Rakusuien Garden
Now let's enter the garden. There's a stamp you can receive at the reception. We recommend getting it as a souvenir. From here we'll be introducing four spots we recommend visitors to see in Rakusuien.
Our favorite spot is Rakusuian, a chashitsu ("tea room"). A chashitsu is a small building where visitors are treated to tea, usually within the tea ceremony.
The "nijiriguchi", unique to chashitsu, is entered on one's knees.
Rakusuian is about the size of a regular tea room, complete with a ro (a sunken hearth used for warming water). There is also a nijiriguchi (entrance to the chashitsu from outside), and visitors can enjoy a genuine tea room atmosphere. Normally, this room can be visited to enjoy matcha tea, but you can also be used for free when events like tea ceremonies are being held.
Next is the suikinkutsu, the water place that can be seen from the tea room. Visitors can enjoy the echo of water dropping in a device underneath the tsukubai (a place to clean hands before entering the tea room). There are hollow places and bottles in the back of the drain, creating beautiful echoing sounds.
Bring a bamboo pipe from the entrance of the tea room.
If you're a group of two or more, one person can make the water flow. Another will put the bamboo pipe to their ear and the bottom of the water. Listen closely, and you will here high-pitched sounds every time the water drops.
3. Tea Garden, Japanese Garden
Of course, Rakusuien is a Japanese garden, so visitors can enjoy the beautiful trees, waterfall, and ponds, whose landscape changes throughout the four seasons.
Photo courtesy of: Rakusuien The view of the autumn leaves from the tea room is said to be especially wonderful.
Hakatabei is a wall made during the Sengoku period (1573 - 1603) by hardening burnt tiles and rocks with dirt. It was used for walls of shrines and temples, as well as mansions.
The people of Hakata from over 400 years ago already had the mentality of recycling. This wall has been restored over time with rocks and tiles, which you can actually touch.
Here, you can also enjoy matcha (300 yen) while admiring the genuine tea room and beautiful tea garden. The atmosphere will make you not want to leave.
The staff members at Rakusuien are knowledgeable in tea manners, and they will teach you how to enjoy tea. However, this is only available when there aren't too many visitors in the garden, so check with the staff when you visit.
Hakata is a city full of office buildings and commercial facilities, so if you ever feel the need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax, we highly recommend visiting Rakusuien Garden.
The two who came with us described the garden as "very relaxing and soul-soothing". It made us want to take a break, just like in the photo above, but this is not fitting for a tea room, so we don't recommend it!