Aoshima's Hidden Japanese Garden

This unknown Japanese garden guarantees peace of mind

By Iain Stanley   Jan 13, 2015 - 3 min read

If you ask Miyazaki tour operators which attractions are the most famous in this southeastern Kyushu prefecture, you can guarantee that Aoshima will be one of the first named, along with Takachiho. Every day, from the time the roaring sun climbs high above the horizon of the Pacific Ocean until it descends behind the soft blue mountains of Kaeda Valley, hundreds of people in tour groups visit Aoshima. The island of Aoshima is indeed a place of great spiritual value, and its seaside shrine and great red shrine gate are unmistakable icons. However, the area of Aoshima has more than just its idyllic island shrine and ragged volcanic rock shapes.

Unbeknownst to most visitors to Miyazaki, and many locals as well, there is a beautiful Japanese garden tucked away from the eyes of those on highway buses and rapid tours. It has all of the features that people love about Japanese gardens, including bonsai trees, a pond full of vividly coloured carp, quaint bridges that reflect serenely across the water, and a waterfall that offers soothing sounds as you take in the treasures on offer. It is so quiet that in the 6 years I have been going there, I have never seen more than 4-5 people there at any time.

In the fall, the changing leaves provide a kaleidoscope of colours that bounce off the pond’s glassy surface. At any time of day during this season, you can stroll along the carefully manicured paths or rest inside the bamboo pergola and be transported to a different world where you might imagine Basho writing haiku amid the sounds of the koto or shamisen. It is at this time of year that the garden is best to photograph, and if you are lucky, you might see couples bedecked in traditional kimono and hakama taking their wedding photos. When you combine the graceful beauty of traditional Japanese dress with the stunning surrounds of this Japanese garden, you realize what a special place Japan can be.

The garden, called Hyuga Keishu-en, is located inside Miyazaki Undo-koen. There is no entry fee, and it is accessible during daylight hours throughout the year. Miyazaki Undo-koen is a huge sporting area filled with baseball stadiums, soccer fields, a velodrome, athletics tracks and recreational areas. The garden is just south of the track and field stadium. One might think that with so many sporting grounds nearby, the garden would hardly be a place of quietude and refuge. However, this is not the case at all.

If you drive, you can park in the car park and walk 5 minutes to the garden. The car park is usually free, but on event days you might have to pay a small fee. Alternatively, you can catch a train to Undo Koen Station and walk about 15 minutes to the garden. Whatever way you decide to come, it will be an experience that will live long in memory.

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Iain Stanley

Iain Stanley @Iain Stanley

Hi, my name is Iain. I was born in Sydney, developed through adventures round Asia and Europe, and refined and settled in Miyazaki, Japan. Through the Japan Travel site and my own website at livingtherightway.com I try to show people what a beautiful place Miyazaki is. You have to look hard on a map to find Miyazaki, but if you do find it, you'll soon realise it's a world away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Majestic mountains, stunning seascapes, verdant valleys, serene swimming holes and many more hidden treasures. Through the photos you see on this site I hope that you get an insight into how beautiful a place it really is here. If you have any questions, or you'd like to know more about this well-kept secret, then send me a message, and I'll be happy to discuss anything you like. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the articles I write and the views that my photos provide!! And if you:d like to follow me on Instagram, come say hi @eyestarcreations. And if you're interested in building Instagram accounts to help with your travels and adventures around Japan, check out my Instagram guide at: https://livingtherightway.com/get-instagram-followers

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Olga 3 years ago
The waterfall photo is stunning, Iain!
Amber Mezbourian 3 years ago
Gorgeous garden - I'm disappointed I didn't see this when I visited Miyazaki! I did have a quick wander around the park near Aoshima, but somehow I missed this part of it.
Laura Weaver 3 years ago
What camera do you use to take these amazing photos! Can't believe that place is even real, definitely on my list to visit now.
Iain Stanley Author 3 years ago
This photo was taken with a Canon 600D I think. I use a different Canon usually, but I think i took some in-water shots on this day too, so used my 600D. It's the lenses that are of most importance though, tbh
Hwee Woon Lim 3 years ago
Breathtaking views.. nice photos. :)
Iain Stanley Author 3 years ago
Thanks, I try to go there at least once every few weeks
Christiane Reinert 3 years ago
I love the setting of the first picture. The atmosphere and the place is so vividly. Great one and I will definitely visit the garden.
Iain Stanley Author 3 years ago
I recommend it if you get a chance!!