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Yokosuka's Shobu-en Park

The Yokosuka Iris Garden

Yokosuka Shobu-en, also known as Kinugasa Shobu-en, was full of surprises for me! It has a very pleasant garden-type atmosphere, which makes you feel like you are away from the city. It presents a breathtaking view of multiple rows of Irises.

After entering the garden gates (and admiring the lotus pond) I decided to take a counter-clockwise path around the garden. Given that I went there the first day that the garden was opened to public for Iris viewing, the flowers were not at their peak. Yet, the right side of the garden is also the ideal location for viewing the Ajisai (Hydrangea), which are located on both sides. There are about 140,000 Irises in this area. They hold traditional Japanese Harp performances for the entire month of June.

There is a bridge in the middle of all the Irises. I believe it divides the rows of irises between the ones that grow in the water and the ones that grow on land. Each row is carefully marked, although in Japanese. You will soon discover that there is a pattern to the design!

A hill is located right at the heart of the garden. If you do choose to climb it to get to the other side, you will find a nice resting spot covered with trees (ideal if you decided to visit the garden on a hot day). Aside from the awesome shade that the trees provide, it will also give you an opportunity to view the garden, one side at a time. Climbing down the left side of the mountain wasn’t that bad. I found that the Wisteria also blooms in this very same garden, and according to one of the caretakers, I just missed the Wisteria season! At first I thought there wasn't much wisteria here, but I was wrong! As soon as I managed to get to a clearing I found tons of them! A lot of resting spots on this side of the garden are under Wisteria, which actually made me imagine how wonderful it would be to just sit and enjoy the flowers above me. I was pretty preoccupied with that thought when I decided to look to my left! More fields of irises, as well as a field of other plants I couldn't identify.

There are a two things you should consider before visitng this garden. First, there is a sign saying that snakes may be in the area, so please be careful. It may look safe, but snakes could be lurking anywhere! Second, if you are a mosquito magnet, use insect repellent before getting close to the garden.

There is a shop located by the exit of the garden where you can buy some seasonal blossoms to take home with you.

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