Kairakuen - Kairakuen and Kodokan

Kairakuen and Kodokan
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The Kairakuen was a landscape gardening project started by Nariaki Tokugawa. The park opened in July 1842. The name "Kairakuen" comes from a saying within The Book of Mencius which states, "The ancients would share the pleasures with people, so their pleasures would be hearty and deep."


Distinguishing features

The Kairakuen was built for not only feudal lords or feudal warriors, but also for commoners. Therefore, the design incorporates characteristics from modern parks as well as a formal Japanese landscape gardens.
In early spring, about 100 different types of plum trees bloom with a total of 3000 flowers, making Kairakuen one of the three most beautiful gardens of Japan.


Throughout the park, one can find Japanese plums, a cedar forest, bamboo trees, cherry blossoms, azaleas, Japanese clovers, and truly enjoy four seasons.
With Senba Lake, plum trees, and a prairie located near the park, there is a spectacular view from the third floor of Kobuntei.



Kobuntei is a historic three-story wooden building. It is made up of a main house and a one story annex, the nobility's private quarters. Nariaki played a key role in the Kobuntei's construction. He would invite writers, artists, and residents of his domain to the Kobuntei and host parties composing Japanese poetry and events to entertain the old. The nobility's private quarters also served as evacuation site in case a fire broke out on the castle grounds. It was used by feudal lord's wife and entourage. The word "Kobun," another name for the Japanese plum, originated from China. On August 2, 1945, the Kobuntei was completely burned down as a result of an aerial attack, and took three years from 1955 to rebuild.

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