We visited the gardens after looking through Okayama castle having bought the package ticket to visit both. It was early in the morning and very cold but the gardens are lovely even in the middle of winter. They must be a pure joy in Spring/summer and Autumn. Great to spend a couple of hours there just strolling around taking it all in, very relaxing. Built between 1687 and 1700 by the daimyo [Japanese Feudal Lord] Ikeda Tsunamasa it is today as it was then. As you wander around you come across ponds and many shrines and tea houses built for succeeding daimyo and around every corner of the path you get a different view, quite stunning. There are hundreds of trees and the plum and maples must be glorious in the spring and autumn.There are rice and tea fields there and apparently the tea is a very ancient variety. Quite a few festivals are held there during the year including rice planting and a tea picking ceremony. There are many different buildings there all used by the daimyo for entertaining or relaxing. You could imagine it was a very busy place at times and at other times so peacefull. It is considered one of the most famous gardens in Japan and one can only wonder about the famous historical figures that have walked it's path . A must visit if in Okayama.
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