Falling for Shukkeien Garden: Autumn in Hiroshima City

ByMichael Stigall
Nov 30, 2021

Falling for Shukkeien Garden: Autumn in Hiroshima City

If you haven’t been to Shukkeien Garden in central Hiroshima City, now is your best chance. Although beautiful in any season, the night autumn foliage illumination running from November 19th to the 28th is the perfect opportunity to explore the garden.

The original garden was built in 1620 by Ueda Soko, master of the tea ceremony, and Asano Nagaakira, the feudal lord of Hiroshima’s primary retainer. The name, ‘Shukkeien,’ literally means ‘shrink scenery garden,’ and refers to the Japanese concept of recreating miniature landscapes to enjoy. This garden is, in fact, a tiny version of Xihu (West Lake) in Hangzhou, China. The atomic bomb almost totally destroyed Shukkeien in 1945, but it was restored to its former glory and is now a popular place for tourists and locals to visit. You will often see wedding photos being taken or young women in traditional kimonos posing for professional pictures. It is an excellent place to take a few photos yourself as there are countless amazing shots to be had. 

The garden is open until 9 PM during late November, with the autumn leaves illuminated for visitors to enjoy. Many people take the opportunity to go a bit earlier and eat a home-cooked or store-bought bento on the garden grounds before exploring. The cooler weather usually makes for clear skies and gives you the chance to break out and wear some of your warmer clothes. Sure, it’s a popular place for a date for couples, but don’t let that put you off if you’re single or want to bring your young kids and family. The autumn foliage is for everyone to enjoy.  The garden is only 260 yen for adults, 150 for high school and college students, and 100 yen for kids, making it a cheap outing for the whole family.

If the traditional Japanese tea ceremony is also your thing, Tea Ceremonies are held throughout the year. They are currently canceled due to the ongoing pandemic, but you can check the website for updates on the earliest available chance to partake in the tea ceremony. 

It can be challenging to predict precisely when the autumn leaves will be at their best, so I suggest keeping a close eye on the leaves around the downtown Hiroshima area (Peace Park, etc.) to determine when you should make a trip to Shukkeien Garden. Then again, you can always go multiple times to enjoy the garden at different stages of autumn, which is my recommendation as the garden is one of my favorite places to go when I want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. 

You don’t have to leave the city to find autumn leaves in the Hiroshima area, and for a bit of peace and quiet, Shukkeien Garden is always a nice place to visit. In fact, you may fall for it…


Shukkei-en Garden

2-11 Kamihatchobori-cho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken, 730-0014 (map link)
http://shukkeien.jp (Japanese)

Jakub Hałun, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


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