While wondering through Hiroshima and taking in all the historic sites, do not neglect to visit Shukkeien Garden located just 15-minutes on foot from Hiroshima Station. The garden is considered to be one of the great Japanese gardens and played an important role during the atomic bombing of the city.
Constructed back on 1620 just after the completion of Hiroshima Castle, it is a shrunken scenery garden consisting of valleys, mountains, waterfalls and forests represented in miniature throughout the garden’s landscape. Situated around the garden’s main pond are a number of tea houses where visitors can enjoy ideal views of the surrounding scenery.
Shukkeien was originally constructed as the garden of Asanu Nagaakira’s (The feudal lord of Hiroshima) villa. In its center is Takuei Pond, which contains over ten small rock islands. There is a bridge spanning the center of the pond known as Koko-kyo (Straddling Rainbow Bridge). The original bridge over the pond was demolished and what you see today is the reconstructed version. Gardens of this type first appeared during the Muromachi era (1336 to 1573).
The main tea house is called the Seifukan. There is a window located on its east wall which perfectly frames the bridge spanning the pond. Many newlywed couples come to this spot to have their photographs taken. As a matter of fact, the garden enjoys over 180,000 visitors annually and is a very popular attraction in Hiroshima.
On a sad note, the garden is located only three quarters of a mile from the hyper center of the atomic bomb. Hence all of the structures in the garden were destroyed and the vegetation burned with the exception of one tree, which withstood the blast. Those who were injured by the bomb took refuge in the garden and died there. Their remains were interred within the garden.
Address: 2-11 Kaminobori-cho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City