Midlands & East Anglia 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 

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.

Norwich Cathedral Japanese garden

Date of construction: 2010

Date of restoration: n/a

The Japanese garden is located within the confines of Norwich Cathedral. It occupies a small space between the end of the modern welcome hall or ‘Hostry’ and the ancient wall of the cathedral. A small team of JGS volunteers designed and built the garden in March 2010. The garden was designed without any planting at the request of the cathedral authorities, so is in the karesansui or dry landscape style with a simple rock arrangement set in a gravel ‘ocean’.
See JGS gardens page for more information.

Newstead Abbey

Date of construction: 1907

Date of restoration: nil

Some of these images were kindly donated by Jeff Bates of the gardens trust
Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire is on the site of a 12th century priory and is the former home of Lord Byron, the poet. In 1861 William Frederick Webb, the traveller and adventurer, acquired the estate. His wife Emilia and two of his children, Geraldine and Ethel, were keen gardeners and were responsible for much of the garden development in the late 19th century. Ethel and Geraldine visited Japan in the 1890s and were enthused by various aspects of Japanese culture. Their interest manifested itself initially in the creation of the Japanese sitting room with its beautiful screens and paneling. Ethel developed the Japanese garden c1907 using her personal experience of Japan and Josiah Condor’s book as inspiration and guide. This Japanese garden is an important milestone in the development of Japanese style gardens in the UK as it predates the 1910 Japan-British exhibition in London. 

Dojima Sake Brewery at Fordham Abbey

Date of construction:2000-2001

Date of restoration: n/a

Pre-booking is essential and 
Entry is by appointment only

Tel: +44 01638 721695

The Japanese garden at Dojima was commissioned by the Hashimoto family who have set up the first saké brewery in the UK. The garden was created 2000-2001 by Robert Ketchell and Andrew Ninnis. The garden covers an area of approximately 1500m2.

 A roofed gateway marks the entrance to the Japanese garden with the garden centred about a large elongated pond with a flat wooden bridge that divides the pond in two halves. The pond has two islands, one in the style of a Crane, and the other as a Turtle island. Both islands feature shaped pine trees. Two waterfalls recirculate water back into the pond, one small and the other larger featuring several large waterworn limestone boulders.

 The overall garden planting is divided into four sections, representing the four seasons. In the spring section to the south are planted a dozen cherry trees. Also, there are a number of cloud pruned pines, as features in the main section of the garden. Extensive use of evergreen shrubs is made throughout the garden for year-round effect. In the autumn section a number of Japanese maples are planted for autumnal colour. An original small brick building on the site has been retained as a viewing area and has serves as a location for tea ceremonies. Beyond the garden is a lawn area where a Shinto shrine is being constructed.


Islands of Peace Garden - Coventry

Date of construction: 2020/21

Date of restoration: n/a

The Islands of Peace Garden in the Coventry War Memorial Park – Coventry’s largest city centre park.
The design of the karesansui or dry stone garden was by Robert Ketchell, Japanese garden creator and former JGS Chair, incorporating ideas suggested by Coventry school children.
See JGS gardens page for more information.

See Between the stones for further information about the project.

Danescourt Cemetery Japanese Garden

Date of construction: 1996

Date of restoration: 2009

The Japanese garden built in 1996 is situated in the Danescourt Cemetery in Tettenhall, Staffordshire. It is owned by the Wolverhampton City Council but maintained by the JGS with a major restoration taking place in 2009. The garden is a karesansui ‘dry garden’ with the typical roofed enclosing walls and gravel representing water. 
See JGS restorations page for more information.

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Date of construction: 2004

Date of restoration: n/a

Located in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens  the Japanese Garden Society helped in the re-design of the Japanese courtyard garden. The garden is maintained by members of the Japanese Garden Society.
See JGS gardens page for more information.

Cascades Garden

Start of construction: 1987

Date of restoration: n/a

Cascades Gardens – the Meditation garden and Bonsai centre is in Bonsall, Derbyshire. It is designed within a spectacular 4-acre natural landscape with cliffs and an old limestone quarry, a ruined corn mill, mill pond and mill race. In the wet season the garden has about 15 waterfalls, and you can see rocks and hear the sound of water wherever you go. In the summer the water becomes just a gentle trickle.

Inspired by Japanese gardens in Kyoto and by Buddhist philosophy, the gardens are unusually planted in a very natural style and are a pleasing combination of rocks, water, and plants. There are quiet secluded areas to sit in, each designed differently around more than twenty Lutyens style benches. There are winding paths and high viewpoints from the cliff and hillside. Some of these areas reflect the gardens the owner has been inspired by in Japan including a raked gravel (or Karesansui) garden reminiscent of the Daisen in and Roanji gardens and also the historic private gardens of the Sumitomo family in Kyoto created in 1929 by one of Japan’s famous landscape designers Ogawa Jihei IIV

All of the seats are in very quiet and peaceful places and designed with meditation in mind. A Japanese pool garden features many Japanese origin plants including Acers, Cryptomeria, bamboo and ferns. We also have a Bonsai centre with trees that have come from China and Japan and pots and tools to help those that are new to this fascinating and patient hobby.

Cascades Gardens is an RHS Partner garden.