Thursday, July 4, 2024

Sorakuen Garden Kobe


As far as I can tell, Kobe only really has one Japanese garden of note, the Sorakuen.

Constructed during the end of the 19th century and the begining of the 20th, it was originally the mansion and garden of a wealthy businessman, Kodera, but was given to the 1941.

The mansion and its buildings were all destroyed in a bombing raid in 1945, except the brick stable building which was built in 1907.

In 1963 the Former Hassan House was moved here from its original site in the  Kitano area.

Designed by Alexander Hansell, who also designed several other Western style residences in the Kitano district, it was built in 1902.

Unfortunately, it is rarely open to the public. The gas lamps in front are among the oldest in Japan.

Another structure moved into the garden is the Funaykata, the two-storey superstructure of a river barge built at the end of the 17th century and used for parties by the Himeji lord.

The hull has long since been lost, but it is registered as an Important Cultural Property.

The garden covers almost 20,000 sq meters and is primarily a pond-stroll type garden.

One of the best times to visit is in late April and early May when the azaleas are in bloom.

An unusual feature is the grove of cycads, not palms, but looking very similar.  There is also a huge camphor tree that has been here since long before the mansion and garden were constructed.

There is a modern reconstruction of a traditional teahouse, and looking out over the garden is a large, modern wedding and banquet facility called the Sorakuen which features a pricey  restaurant and cafe

The previous post in this series on my walk along the Kinki Fudo Myo Pilgrimage was on Nishinomiya Ebisu Shrine.

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