Kyoto Botanical Gardens
As the country’s capital for more than 1000 years, it is not surprising that Emperors, shoguns and priests have built so many wonderful gardens in this city. This is the place to enjoy traditional Japanese gardens, where spirituality, borrowed landscapes and symmetry play a large role in the intricate placement of plants and flowers.
The Botanical Gardens were established in 1924, both as a research location and for public enjoyment and education. On display are 12,000 different species of plant, from across the world but with a focus on native plants. These include Japanese bonsai, cherry trees, Japanese iris, bamboo, hydrangeas and camellias.
A large greenhouse was added in 1992, built to reflect the shape of the famous Kinkaku temple in Kyoto. Desert and savannah plants, carnivorous plants, orchids and alpine plants (including many native to the mountainous regions of Japan) thrive in this environment.
The gardens are also one of the best places to view the cherry blossoms in the springtime. A large cherry grove holds one of the largest single trees in the country, and the blooms emblazon the gardens for two glorious weeks every year. This is a popular place to relax, often with a picnic!