London and South East Japanese style gardens open to the public
The UK has a number of publicly accessible Japanese style gardens shown in the listing below.
It includes some of historic interest and value as well as very recently constructed gardens. The gardens vary greatly in both size and standard. Many of the gardens are sited in public spaces or parks and some unfortunately have been subject to damage and lack of maintenance.
Appreciation of these gardens is to a large extent subjective and this particular selection is not intended to identify ‘the best’ gardens, merely to reflect the wide range of gardens and their different styles that are open to the public.
To add further detail to each garden, if known the date of construction, date of any restorations and brief descriptions are also given.
Images of the gardens may not be recent and have been supplied by JGS members unless otherwise stated.
Click on the name of the garden for website and when appears grey for more information and pictures if available.
Kyoto Garden - Holland Park London
Date of construction: 1991
Date of restoration: nil
Description:The Kyoto Garden was opened in 1991. It was a gift from the city of Kyoto to commemorate the long friendship between Japan and Great Britain. Today, the Kyoto Garden is a popular part of Holland Park – but it’s not the only Japanese garden in this green space. In July 2012, the Fukushima Memorial Garden was officially opened. It commemorates the gratitude of the Japanese people to the British people for their support following the natural disasters that struck in March 2011.
Date of construction: 1910
Date of restoration: 2010
White City was built in the early 1900s on 140 acres of land as a grand exhibition site. It was constructed in steel and concrete and painted white, hence the name ‘White City’, and a stadium was added for the 1908 Olympic Games.
In 1910, a major exhibition was held in celebration of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance (1902-1923) with the backing of the Japanese government. Among the exhibits were two gardens, which were constructed for the 1910 exhibition with materials imported from Japan and by a mixed Anglo-Japanese workforce. The Garden of Peace featured a long pond with a large waterside teahouse, whereas the Garden of the Floating Isle featured a circular moat surrounding a hilly island.
The Japan-British Exhibition attracted 8 million visitors, at a time when few people travelled outside Britain.
The exhibition site was gradually redeveloped. The White City housing estate was built in the 1930s and the BBC television studios in 1960.
The Garden of Peace was converted into a more traditional British public park and named ‘Hammersmith Park’. The Japanese garden is probably the oldest publicly owned Japanese garden in the UK.