Kyoto Botanical Gardens
Experience nature from around the world without leaving Kyoto. Kyoto Botanical Gardens is the most comprehensive botanical garden in Japan. The lush grounds hold around 12,000 species of plants spread out over approximately 240,000 square meters, meaning there’s something different to see every time you visit.
Founded in 1924, it’s also the oldest and offers a relaxing and educational day out for the whole family. Located in the north of Kyoto city, the garden is divided into various different sections, including a bamboo garden, a sunken garden, a rose garden and a European-style garden. For something quintessentially Japanese, check out the bonsai tree exhibition and the ume (plum) garden. There’s also a large conservatory onsite housing a variety of tropical plants and flowers from different climates.
As well as these cultivated areas, there is also plenty of open lawn space, a cafe, gift shop, and a playground for children. Benches and tables are dotted throughout the garden, providing excellent picnic spots.
Gardens by season
Spring is a particularly popular time of year to visit the garden. Locals and tourists alike flock to enjoy the beauty of the park’s 500 sakura trees in bloom, and the garden stays open late for special cherry blossom illumination evenings.
In autumn it’s a great spot to witness the changing colors of the leaves, while December sees the garden transformed into a winter wonderland, with over 100,000 LED lights used to create beautiful seasonal displays.
If you’re visiting at a different time of year or want to avoid the crowds, don’t worry. The wide range of flora growing here means that whichever season you visit in, there will be something to enjoy! Last, English-language maps are available to help you navigate the gardens.