Sorakuen Garden – Kobe, Japan

Sorakuen Garden is a 5-acre Japanese garden built in the early 20th century in central Kobe, on the grounds of the former residence of the Kodera family.

The front gate is still the original one, made of zelkova wood with roof tiles bearing the Kodera family crest:

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At the northern part of the compound sits a large stable, built in 1910 for Kenkichi Kodera, the former mayor of Kobe. It is an imposing L-shaped building with stables on the ground floor and housing for stable hands on the second floor:

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Next to the stables sits the Hassam House. Built in 1902, this house belonged to an Anglo-Indian trader who lived in the Kitano neighborhood (where many foreign residences still exist). The house was moved to this compound in the 1960s. In the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, a chimney fell off the roof, and is now displayed in the front yard:

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But the main attraction is the large Japanese garden on the western side of the compound. This sprawling garden has a large central pond, stone bridges, stepping stones, streams and waterfalls. At the center of the garden is a houseboat from the Edo period, built around the turn of the 18th century. It is the last remaining houseboat of its kind still in existence:

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The garden itself is a secluded oasis of tranquility. It is a true gem, and at 300 Yen admission fee, it’s a great getaway for a leisurely stroll and a rest during a visit to Kobe.

Here are some more photos I took in the garden:

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