Jan 25, 2024 85 views

KOKO-EN – Japanese Garden next to Himeji Castle|Enjoy the seasonal beauty of nine gardens

The Japanese garden “KOKO-EN” is one of the most famous tourist spots in Himeji. In the garden, visitors appreciate gardens and architectural structures built in the traditional Japanese style. It is also a popular photo spot where visitors can enjoy seasonal scenery such as cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. Visitors can also experience Japanese traditional food in the restaurant while viewing the garden, or enjoying matcha green tea and sweets in the tea ceremony house. Here is also fun for children and wheelchair-accessible, so be sure to visit with your family.

・How to get to KOKO-EN

Get off at JR Himeji Station and walk about 20 minutes or take a bus from the station to Himeji Castle Otemon-mae bus stop.

There are many restaurants and souvenir shops along Otemae-dori Street and Miyuki-dori Shopping Street, which run in a straight line from Himeji Station to Himeji Castle, so it is recommended to head there on foot while sightseeing in town.

・A Japanese garden adjacent to Himeji Castle, KOKO-EN

KOKO-EN is a Japanese garden located southwest of Himeji Castle and also one of the most popular tourist spots in Himeji along with Himeji Castle. The garden opened in 1992 on the site of the former residence of a former lord of Himeji. 3.5 hectares in size, the garden consists of nine different gardens, and visitors can enjoy its beauty in about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In the gardens, where visitors can enjoy the unique Japanese beauty of the stones and plantings, they can feel the changing seasons through the trees and flowers. The garden offers beautiful scenery in any season: cherry blossoms in spring, fresh greenery in summer, autumn leaves in fall, and snowy landscapes in winter.

・Highlights of KOKO-EN

The “Oyashiki no Niwa” is the largest garden in KOKO-EN. In the “Oyashiki no Niwa” garden, about 250 colorful Nishikigoi* can be seen swimming in a large pond that is reminiscent of the Seto Inland Sea.

*Nishikigoi are popular in Europe, the U.S. as appreciation and in Asia as a good-luck charm for lovers. The colorful patterns of red and yellow Koi are said to be “swimming jewels.”

The corridor in the “Oyashiki no Niwa” is also very tasteful. The traditional hinoki cypress construction provides a spectacular view of the waterfall from the corridor.

The garden was inspired by its Edo period architecture and scenery, and has been used as a filming location for movies and TV dramas. In the past, a live-action version of the popular anime “Rurouni Kenshin” (Rurouni Kenshin: The Last Chapter, The Beginning) was filmed here. The location where the film was shot has become a popular spot for fans.

Visitors can enjoy matcha green tea and seasonal sweets at “Souju-an,” the traditional Japanese sukiya-style of tea house.

Chairs are available, so there is no need to worry even if you are not able to sit in seiza. Plese note the number of participants is limited.

・Enjoy the scenery of the four seasons!

In spring (March-April), 70 cherry trees of 11 varieties, including Someiyoshino cherry trees, are in full bloom. The weeping cherry trees in the “Oyashiki no Niwa” and “Nagare no Hira Niwa” gardens are especially worth seeing. The sight of cherry blossoms in full bloom as if they are pouring down is a sight to behold.

From early April, when the cherry blossoms are at their best each year, the area is also illuminated at night.

From early summer to summer (May to August), the garden is decorated with colorful flowers such as lotus, hydrangea, and azalea. The “Natsuki no Niwa” (Summer Wooden Garden), a beautiful collaboration of lush, freshly green garden trees, stepping stones, and lanterns, is a popular spot for visitors to experience the world of wabi and sabi.

Autumn (October to December), when the leaves change color, is said to be one of the most beautiful times of the year and attracts many tourists. Some trees turn fiery red, while others turn yellow or orange depending on the sunlight and temperature. The beautiful gradation of autumn leaves is one of the most symbolic views of autumn in Japan. The view with the waterfall in the garden and through the corridor is also very picturesque and highly recommended.

Every year, from mid-November to early December, “Momijie” is held and the autumn leaves in the garden are lit up. Enjoy the different beauty of the leaves during the daytime.

Himeji City is an area where snowfall is rare, but it does occur once every few years. The snow-covered scenery is called “Yukigeshou” (snow-covered scenery), and the precious appearance of the beautiful white gardens and Himeji Castle, as if the whole area is covered with snow, is also very attractive.

・Enjoy a luxurious moment with a view of the garden at Kassui-ken Restaurant.

“Kassui-ken” is a restaurant in the garden where you can dine while enjoying a view of the garden of the garden of the “Oyashiki no Niwa”.

We recommend the “Japanese Beef Touban-yaki Set (with coffee or tea)” (2,680 yen). The “Touban-yaki” is a cooking method in which ingredients are grilled on a ceramic plate. Enjoy the tender texture of Japanese beef in a luxurious way.

Other dishes include the “Anago Donburi Set” (1,480 yen), which includes Himeji’s specialty conger eel and tempura.

・Discount tickets

Koko-en is located to the west of Himeji Castle, but the grounds are not connected. To get to Himeji Castle, you must leave Koko-en and enter Himeji Castle through Otemon Gate. Each facility requires a separate fee.

If you purchase a special ticket that includes both Koko-en and Himeji Castle, the total price is 1,310 yen (310 yen for the garden and 1,000 yen for the castle), but 1,050 yen for the common ticket.

・English-speaking guides are available upon request.

Although there are English-speaking staff members in the garden, there is no foreign language guide service. You can make a reservation on the web in advance and receive the service if a volunteer English-speaking guide is available (free of charge). If you wish to use this service, please check the website at the following address.

More info >> The Himeji Castle English Speaking Guide Group




  • official
  • ins
  • official
  • Yes
  • No
  • Wi-Fi
  • Toilet
  • locker
  • Restaurant On-site
  • Parking
  • foreign language brochure
    foreign language
68, Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo
Business hours
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Admissions closed 4:30 p.m.)
*Extended hours depending on season
Regular holiday
Dec. 29/30
Adult: 310 yen
Child (6-18 years old): 150 yen
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This article is current as of Jan 25, 2024. It may differ from the latest information.