Located on the grounds of the Himeji Castle, Koko-en Garden was finished in 1992 to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of the Himeji municipality. The 9-acre (3.6-hectare) space, divided into nine smaller gardens, showcases the typical garden style of the Edo Period when Japan was under shogun rule.
Professor Makoto Nakamura from Kyoto University supervised the design of the gardens, which are laid out on the former site of the lord’s residence and samurai houses. The smaller garden spaces were designed so that as you walk through, the view is constantly changing.
At the onsite Tea Room, designed by an Ura school tea master, visitors can participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. The garden also houses a Japanese restaurant where traditional dishes are served with views over the garden.
There’s always something worth seeing in Koko-en Garden, but by far the best time to visit is during cherry blossom season (typically between March and May) when the delicate pink blossoms adorn the garden trees.