sights / Parks & gardens

Kōkō-en information

Himeji , Japan
68 Honmachi
adult/child ¥300/150, combination ticket with Himeji Castle ¥1040/360
Opening hours
9am-6pm May-Aug, to 5pm Sep-Apr
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Across the castle's western moat is this stunning reconstruction of the former samurai quarters. Nine Edo Period–style homes boast gardens with various combinations of waterfalls, koi ponds, intricately pruned trees, bamboo, flowering shrubs and a wisteria-covered arbor. It feels like a movie set amid the stone and plaster walls lining the paths (in fact, many Japanese historical dramas have been shot here). It is particularly lovely in spring and during the autumn foliage season.

In the teahouse, ¥500 gets you matcha (powdered green tea) and a Japanese sweet, presented by a kimono-clad server, and the restaurant Kassui-ken (活水軒) serves a bentō (boxed meal) of anago (conger eel, a local speciality, ¥2080).