Tennoji’s Hidden Garden
Keitakuen, a Green Oasis in the Heart of the City
In the heart of city, tucked away behind the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, you’ll find the garden oasis – Keitakuen. This incredibly serene and completely unexpected traditional Japanese garden, is the ultimate quiet reprieve from the bustle of the city. So, if you’re like me, and need some greenery to keep sane, save yourself the trip to Kyoto and head to Tennoji instead!
The entrance to the garden is shrouded in thick greenery and a large wooden door. It’s actually a bit easy to miss at first. Even with the gate open the full view of the garden is obscured. At first I was disappointed, thinking that the area was nothing more than a gravel filled lot with a few seasonal potted flowers in bloom. Don’t let this fool you! In reality, the park is much more than what first meets the eye.
Commissioned by the wealthy Sumitoto family and designed by the prolific landscape architect, Jihei Ogawa, Keitakuen is an outstanding example of a chisen-kaiyu shiki style garden. This means the space was built with the intention of making the pond the central focal point. Along with it’s historical significance – which you can read more about in the complimentary brochure, passing the entrance you’ll discover more than 200 species of plants, a gorgeous pavilion with panoramic views of the park and pond, moss covered steppingstones, a variety of bridges, colorful koi, turtles and more.
Though the space is small and the buzz of civilization and buildings surround the park on all four sides, a relaxing aura permeates Keitaken. During my time in the park, though it was brief, I was able to really relax and considering what I pay for a massage for the same feeling, the ¥150 entry fee is an absolute steal of a deal!
Although it’s generally less crowded on weekdays, weekends are also a good time to visit Keitakuen. The garden has several small paths and shadowed nooks that mean even on busy days there’s space to enjoy on your own. So if you’re Tennoji, need of a bit of nature and are after something distinctly Japanese, Keitakuen is the place to be!
9:30am – 5pm
9:30am – 8pm (Sat, Sun & National Holidays in May & September)
9:30am – 8pm (Fri, Sat, Sun & National Holidays in July & August)
Last Admission is 30mins prior to closing
For more on Keitakuen, you can visit the Osaka City official website here (Japanese only).
If visiting Keitakuen has inspired you to learn more about Japanese Gardens, check out Encyclopedia Japan’s, Brief Overview of Japanese Gardens here.