Names in this site follow the Japanese custom of family name first.

July 26, 2011

Japanese Gardens: Sorakuen, Kobe

The best Japanese-style garden in Kobe is Sorakuen, established by a former mayor of the city, Mr Kodera. It is a typical stroll garden with a central pond, but characteristic and not wholly traditional are the huge sotetsu trees standing along the path that leads into the garden - sotetsu are tropical trees, in English called Sago Palms. There are also several large open spaces typical of Western gardens.

[Sorakuen, Kobe]

The Kodera Mansion was destroyed during the war, and now only the stables remain to give an impression of original grandeur.

To fill in the empty space, the Hassam House from 1902, the residence of an Anglo-Indian trader was moved here from Kitano-cho - a fine example of neo-colonial architecture. Note the huge chimney lying upside down in front of the house - this heavy piece of bricks came crashing down during the Kobe Quake of 1995.

[Sorakuen, Kobe]

Another building moved to the garden is the Funayakata, a houseboat originally belonging to the Himeji daimyo and built around 1700. It is impressive for its decorative lacquer.
Access: 10 min walk north of Sannomiya or Motomachi
Hours: 9:00-17:00. CL Thurs, NY
The park is especially known for its azaleas in early May and its chrysanthemums and red leaves in autumn. Unfortunately, there are no ume or sakura!