There are several places that every tourist should visit when arriving in Osaka for the first time. Moments from Tennoji station is the zoo, Shitennoji as well as the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art which borders Keitakuen Garden. This park is not as well-known as the other landmarks, but is a very beautiful place with an interesting history.
The entrance fee for adults only costs 150 yen. At the entrance you will be given a map and a brochure with information about the kinds of plants are grown here, the time of year when they bloom, as well as the kinds of stones and their meaning. Information is available in multiple languages including English, Chinese and Japanese.
Keitakuen garden is immaculate and very relaxing, as well as having more than 200 species of plants, such as Japanese apricot, azalea, iris, water lily and maple, which vary dramatically in every season. A pond in the middle of the garden resembles the ocean with rocky banks and pine trees. Many of the trees and bushes have nameplates in English and Japanese, and the variety here includes such as camphor, cherry, hackberry, maple and Japanese blue oak.
The park was constructed by the wealthy merchant Sumitomo when he created Keitakuen Garden adjoining his house in Osaka. The legendary Jihei Ogawa was the designer of this beautiful garden. He also created the landscape gardens of Maruyama Park and Sanjo-in temple during the Meiji and Showa periods in Kyoto (late 19th to early 20th centuries)
I came to this garden on a very hot sunny day. As it was a working day, there were only a few people in the garden, but it can be busy on holidays and weekends. Even so it is a quiet and reflective space in the shadows of the Japanese trees away from the busy streets of Osaka. Small paths invite you to walk slowly and enjoy the surroundings while the bamboo benches invite you to sit down and take in the natural beauty. Despite the small size of the garden, there are many hidden places to explore with many stone paths which form walkways through the ponds.
There is a pavilion in the garden with windows overlooking the pond. I was surprised with the amount of inhabitants in the pond including carp, pond slider turtles and more. Inside there are benches where visitors of the garden can sit and even throw food in the pond from time to time, so the carp and turtles are always ready nearby.