Peter Sidell

Oyaku-En Garden in Aizu Wakamatsu

Take a relaxing stroll around this scenic herb garden

Peter Sidell
Peter Sidell   - 3 min read

Aizu Wakamatsu has a couple of very impressive historical sights: its castle, and Aizu Bukeyashiki, a fabulous restored samurai residence. Roughly half way between the two - so you can stop off if you're walking from one to the other - is Oyaku-En, a small but attractive traditional garden, a very pleasant place to stroll around slowly and relax in.

Some history: the villa in the garden is reputed to have been built by Morihisa Ashina, a military commander of the Muromachi Era, at the site of a spring with healing powers. The traditional garden is considered a prime example of the Tokugawa Era, and a herb garden was added. Herbs from the garden are used in the tea which you can drink at the teahouse.

It's really very pretty
It's really very pretty

It's not a large place, but it does have a nice peaceful atmosphere. I arrived very early, on a cloudy day - drizzle would start falling as I left - and had it pretty much to myself. I followed the paths by the herb garden, and through the many, various trees and bushes around the pond, breathing in the fresh air deeply.

When you cross the bridge onto the little island, you'll find a small pavilion. This is a good place to stop for a few moments; you can sit and take in the scenery, unchanged in centuries, perhaps soothe your mind by watching the ducks paddle through the waters of the pond.

Looking out over the pond from the teahouse
Looking out over the pond from the teahouse

Getting there

It's in the south-eastern part of the city, fifteen minutes' walk from Tsuruga-jo castle, probably a good thirty or forty minutes' walk from the station. If you're not driving or on a bike, then it's close to the Oyaku-En stop (H21) on the Haikara-san sightseeing bus, or the Shokokaigisho stop (A20) on the Akabe sightseeing bus.

It's open daily from 8:30am to 5:00pm. Admission is JPY320, with discounts for school age students, and for groups of 30 or more visitors.

Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.