Bucket list Japan: see the peonies at Yuushien Garden

Daikonshima in Japan’s Shimane prefecture is famous for peonies.

peony pondHead to the island’s Yuushien garden to see them in all their glory. This garden is kaiyu shiki teien or circuit style: you start at one end and wind your way around many different gardens.yushien

“The most famous place for this spectacle is the little island of Daikonshima (Radish island), in the grand Nakaumi lagoon, about an hour’s sail from Matsue. In May, the whole island flames crimson with peonies; and even the boys and girls of the public schools are given a holiday, in order that they may enjoy the sight.”

Lafcadio Hearn

HOT FOOT (2)In Yuushien, Shimane’s prefectural flower, the peony or botan flowers year round, even in winter, when the blossoms shelter under little thatched roofs.  Spring, however, is the best time to see the garden’s display of floating peonies.yuushienEven if you don’t come for the peonies, there are lots of koi-filled ponds, moon bridges, waterfalls, moss gardens, and karesansui or dry landscape gardens to keep you interested. The gardens are arranged in such a way so that you can enjoy different perspectives of the environment. This garden aesthetic is what the Japanese call miegakure or “hide and reveal.”the wayIn a country often battered by natural disasters like tsunamis, typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes, the Japanese garden symbolizes how the Japanese try to control nature. It’s a place where they can contain their chaotic world and present it in a stylized form. Most importantly, the Japanese garden remains a therapeutic place that stills the Japanese mind racked by daily anxieties.

Photos: © Live Lyfe Photography

Would you like to visit Yuushien? Read more in my Savvy Tokyo story here!

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20 thoughts on “Bucket list Japan: see the peonies at Yuushien Garden

  1. Peonies are my favourite flower! Definitely just added this to my bucket list!
    You know you mentioned how the park is “circuit style”? Is it easily navigable and sign-posted? I always find myself taking a wrong turn in circuit-style places and missing out on half the park!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many Japanese gardens would be considered “circuit style” because there are many ways to explore them. The circuitous paths are part of their design aesthetic. Although they are not signposted, you are free to wander as you like!

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  2. Yuushien is a gorgeous garden! I will definitely be adding this to our list when we visit Japan again. Love peonies and koi ponds- I love how some peonies even float!

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  3. This is so beautiful, I would love to take a stroll here to see everything. I absolutely love pretty flowers and I get so excited when spring time comes around! The koi ponds also look great, they are so colourful!

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  4. Beautiful pics! Makes me sad that I won’t be making the trip from Korea to visit Japan – gotta save for other adventures!
    It’s interesting that schools are given a holiday for these flowers – truly an important part of their culture!

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  5. Oh! I love peonies so much I would have liked to see more pictures of them!
    I wanted them for my wedding, but they don’t grow at all in September where I’m from, that’s a bummer. Not only are they gorgeous, but they smell amazing! I actually didn’t know that Japan was famous for growing them!

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  6. I love visiting Japanese gardens and these ones look so pretty! Spring is one of the best times to travel I think. Hopefully I make it to Japan one day to see these in person!

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  7. Peonies are my absolute favourite flower, but who doesn’t love them! They were my flowers for my wedding. This is for sure going on my list of places to see. I would wander around here for hours. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. I love Japanese Gardens! They are so tranquil, peaceful and beautiful. With how frenetic Japan is, it is easy to understand why the Japanese use these spaces to calm a busy mind. Visiting in Spring with all the peonies would be wonderful!

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