An urban oasis within an urban oasis, this wonderfully-groomed Japanese garden is situated towards the west edge of Nara Park. The site once housed the priests of Kofukuji Temple, but now it’s the playground of some world-class gardeners.
During the Meiji era, when there was a heavy anti-Buddhist backlash from the Shinto-promoting state, this land was purchased from the temple and developed as a private garden. It was named after the small river which runs through the site, and the buildings inside date back just over 100 years to 1919.
The gardeners tend to three separate garden areas within Yoshikien: one showcasing moss, one featuring ponds, and one geared towards enhancing the tea ceremony experience with gorgeous flowers. If you only visit one garden in Japan, Yoshikien Garden is a safe bet due to the lovely variation on display.
The best part is that entry to this garden is totally free!