When is the Best Time to See the Plum Blossoms in Mito, Ibaraki?
Kairakuen is a Japanese garden in Mito City, Ibaraki Prefecture. Along with Kenrokuen in Okayama and Korakuen in Kanazawa, it is known as one of the three great gardens of Japan. It is also famous as a place for plum blossoms, and it is magnificent with about 100 varieties and about 3,000 plums blooming one after another in the garden.
Kairakuen is a historic garden that was built in 1842. The spacious garden is divided into a main garden and an extension. The main garden has historical buildings, and the extension has abundant nature.
Highlights of Kairakuen
The highlight of Kairakuen are the plums, but there are many other things you can't miss. For example, the area around Tsuki ike (pond) where nature remains and the Taro cedar trees, which are said to be about 800 years old. The view from the Japanese Chess Grounds (Senekidai) is also wonderful. Here are some other recommended spots and ways to spend your time here.
Historical Buildings such as Koubuntei and Nakamon
Various historic buildings remain in the park. For example, Koubuntei. It is a sophisticated building that was designed by Tokugawa Nariaki, who built the landscape, and was restored in 1958. A new lacquer painting was created along with the restoration, gorgeously decorating the interior. From the 3rd floor Rakujuro, you can see a vast landscape.
In addition, Nakamon gate at the entrance of Koubuntei is a building that has been there since the beginning of the park's history. The simple structure of the Kayabuki blends into the garden's atmosphere. Shibasakimon gate, located at the end of the Nakamon Gate, is a quiet gate connecting Koubuntei and the plum tree area.
The main gate of Koubuntei on the north side of the park is the main gate that was erected at the beginning of landscaping; about 170 years have passed since it was built. It is a gate with a black and tight impression.
Bamboo Groves, Cherry Blossoms, Plums, and other Plants that Color the Season
In the park, you can see many plants that add color to each season.
The biggest highlight of the flowers in Kairakuen is the plum. From mid-December to March, about 100 kinds of plums, including varieties such as Toji and Toba start to bloom. In particular, the plum festival is held from mid-February to March when the plums in the park are in full bloom.
In late April, about 380 strains of two varieties of flower, a red flower Kirishima azalea, and white flower Dodan azalea spread across the grounds.
Also, in summer, Moso bamboo and cedars grow lush, creating a cool shade in the prime of summer.
In addition, autumn begins in September with the Hagi Festival, with about 750 varieties such as Miyagino Hagi and white Hagi blooming adorable flowers. Following that, around mid-November, Momiji Dani enters the autumnal season. During this period, the valley is lit up, and the autumn leaves emerge in the night sky. (Accurate as of October 2019)
Opening Hours and Entrance Fees of Kairakuen
The opening time of Kairakuen differs depending on the main garden, other facilities, and the season. The main garden is open from 6:00 to 19:00 from the 1st of April to the end of September, and from 7:00 to 18:00 from October to the 31st of March. In addition, the areas other than the main garden are open 24 hours a day.
The entrance fee for Kairakuen Main Garden is 300 yen per adult, and Koubuntei is 200 yen per adult. Koubuntei is open from 9:00 to 17:00 from the 1st of April to the end of September, and from 9:00 to 16:30 from October to March 31st. It is closed from the 29th to the 31st of December. (Accurate as of November 2019)
How to Get to Kairakuen
To get to Kairakuen, take a bus from JR Mito Station. There are several routes, but here are the ones that are easiest to understand.
Take the Kanto Railway Bus bound for Kairakuen from Bus Stop No. 6 near JR Mito Station North Exit and get off at the last stop at Kairakuen Bus Stop. The bus takes about 20 minutes, and after getting off, it is a 10-minute walk to the East Gate.
- Spot name: Kairakuen
- Street address: 1-3-3 Tokiwa-cho, Mito-shi, Ibaraki 310-0033
- Access: JR Mito Station → [Kanto Railway Bus] approx. 20 minutes → Kairakuen bus stop… Approximately 10 minutes on foot
- Wi-Fi: Available (IBARAKI FREE Wi-Fi)
- Language: English
- Credit cards: No credit card accepted