Translated by Lester Somera
Sorakuen Garden, Kobe - The Highlights Of A Marvelous Public Garden
Written by Mayu
Sorakuen, located in Kobe City, has traditional Japanese gardens and Western-influenced architecture to enjoy. We'll show you the highlights of this exquisite garden.
What is Sorakuen Garden?
Kobe Convention and Visitors Association
Sorakuen Garden, located in the Chuo ward of Kobe, Hyogo prefecture, contains Japanese gardens as well as the Former Hassam House and the Former Kodera’s Stable, Western buildings that were erected in the Meiji era. In addition, Sorakuen is famous for its azaleas. From April through May, more than 4000 azaleas bloom here. Let’s take a look at how to get to Sorakuen, and what to see when you’re there.
The History of Sorakuen
Originally meant to serve as a Kodera clan residence and garden, construction began on Sorakuen in 1885 on orders issued by the samurai Taijiro Kodera. Sorakuen was completed in 1911. There were many residential buildings within the garden, but during the Kobe air raids in June 1945, every building except for the stable was obliterated. The stable is now a designated Important Cultural Property. In addition, Sorakuen was registered as a National Scenic Spot in 2006 for its value from a historical perspective.
Sorakuen’s Japanese Garden Construction Style: Chisen Kaiyu
The garden on the grounds is built according to the Chisen Kaiyu style. This style is known for having a characteristic man-made central pond, so that visitors can stroll around it and enjoy the garden scenery. Sorakuen’s Japanese garden features stone bridges, man-made waterfalls and a Western-influenced plaza.
The garden is closed every Thursday, or the following day in the event that a national holiday falls on Thursday. However, the garden remains open on Thursdays from late April to early May for Tsutsuji Yuzan, when you can see the azaleas, and during the chrysanthemum flower exhibit (October 20 to November 23).
Getting to Sorakuen
The closest station is the Kencho-mae subway station on the Seishin-Yamate Line. From JR Sannomiya, the hub station for Kobe, head down to the subway (two minutes on foot) and ride the Seishin-Yamate Line until Kencho-mae. The trip takes two minutes and costs 210 yen. The garden is five minutes away from the station.