South West England 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.

The Newt - Somerset

Date of construction: 2021

Date of restoration: n/a

Annual membership is required for entry, unless staying at the hotel.
As an RHS partner garden, RHS members have free entry on Tuesdays

In 2021 a new Japanese-inspired garden opened at this 300-year-old country estate. Modelled on the Chishakuin garden created around 1674 in Kyoto, it illustrates Japanese garden styles dating from the 15thand 16thcenturies. This garden combines traditional Japanese design with locally sourced materials including stone from Hadspen Quarry for its garden walls, Blue Lias limestone paving and stepping stones, and oak timbers. Its roji-style tea garden features a bamboo entrance gate made in a chūmon (ʻmiddle gateʼ)-style and water features including a tsukubai (water-basin arrangement) and a suikinkutsu, where drops of water produce ringing bell-like echoes. The adjoining karesansui (dry landscape garden) showcases a collection of magnificent bonsai. Unusually for a karesansui garden, a strolling path enables a close view of an impressive stone arrangement representing a waterfall (taki-iwagumi) and many trees and shrubs pruned in the Japanese style. 

Compton Acres

Date of construction: 1920s

Date of restoration: n/a

Thomas Simpson used Japanese designers and workmen to create the garden in the 1920’s. Genuine symbolic artefacts were also imported to grace the garden. Brave visitors can go on a journey through the garden to view the features and planting by crossing the koi carp pool on stepping stones, passing the well where Japanese visitors would have washed their feet, a fierce dragon spiralling around a pergola, cranes and lanterns nestling amongst the classic planting of colourful evergreen azaleas, flowering cherries, camellias, moutan peonies, hostas, Hakon grass and many other species. Less confident visitors can take an easy path looking down on the garden. The picturesque Tea House, approached by more stepping stones (not in use) is draped in Japanese wisteria. Many specimens are undoubtedly from the original planting such as a gnarled pine and Japanese maples. A cascade and tall pagoda complete the scene in this garden that is still regarded as one of the finest in the country. In recent years attention has been paid to rejuvenating and enhancing the planting using cultivars of native Japanese species, replacing non-native species where possible.

The Japanese Garden St Mawgan - Cornwall

Date of construction: 1997

Date of restoration: n/a

After successfully establishing The Bonsai Nursery, in 1991 Robert and Stella Hore began creating The Japanese Garden in the overgrown wooded valley, approximately 1 acre in size, opening it to the public six years later. Rocks, plants and water have been carefully placed to create a feeling of harmony and offering beautiful views throughout the garden. Distinct areas include a stroll garden, bamboo grove, koi pond, moss garden, tea house, and Zen viewing house which overlooks the karesansui (dry stone garden). Designed as a meditative and relaxing place, twists and turns in the pathways provide numerous viewing points. Many features commonly associated with Japanese gardens, including various water features, granite statues, bridges and iconic plants can be viewed throughout. This sheltered site, abundant water and rich peaty soil have enabled many plants found in Japanese gardens to flourish including azaleas, rhododendrons, cherries and over 100 varieties of Japanese maples

Pinetum gardens

Date of construction: Early 2000s

Date of restoration: n/a

In the early 2000’s Chang Li created a Japanese garden within this 30acre estate in an area already containing many champion trees planted by previous owners. The trees have been retained and new trees added using plants selected from the Kyoto Botanical Garden which were sent over as seeds from Japan. They provide a feeling of enclosure and change the direction of light during the day. Walking along the winding path from water basin, near the upper entrance, reveals rocks (symbolising mountains), a seating area with a view of a pagoda, and lush green planting throughout. Eventually a large pond is viewed with the shakkei (borrowed scenery) of wildflower meadows in the parkland beyond, the key to the design which aims to create a ‘Zen’ state of mind. This view is best appreciated from the Japanese pavilion which overlooks the pond, pebble beach, stone lantern.  The yatsuhashi bridge across the pond enables the journey to continue, so the pavilion can be viewed across the pond before leaving the Japanese garden to explore the meadow and lake beyond.