Even a samurai needs to unwind.
The Tokugawa Garden may slip through the net for many tourists to Nagoya but don’t exclude this haven for wildlife and Japan’s seasonal bloom show from your itinerary.
Those of you who are clued up on Japan’s history and samurai culture will recognise the Tokugawa name instantly. For those who are not, the Tokugawa clan were in power from 1603 until 1867 and were the very last to hold the title of Shogun (feudal lord). The Tokugawa Garden was laid out in 1695 as a retirement villa for one of these great lords. Supposedly, when first built, the garden was 44 hectares in area and the lake was said to be large enough to accommodate a 16-oar boat.
Want to know more? Check out the Tokugawa Art Museum (another place that should definitely make it on your Nagoya bucket-list) situated next to the Tokugawa Garden.
The majestic Ryusenko Lake is the garden’s centerpiece. Strolling along the lakeside, you’ll be treated to dramatic waterfalls, zen-inspired rock formations, delicate wooden bridges, a samurai tea house and restaurant. Typical of Japanese gardens, the seasons take pride of place. From February to March you can see Japanese Apricots, a blossom that back in the Tokugawa clan’s day was more popular than the world-renowned cherry blossom. The gardens also specialise in Chinese Peony, Iris and Maple.
If you plan on visiting Nagoya Castle or the Tokugawa Art Museum, the Tokugawa Gardens act as the ideal contrast to the exhibits celebrating the samurai’s war-hungry and violent past.