Japan is an island nation but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have neighbors. Russia is to the north, Taiwan is to the south and Korea and China are to the west. Enchouen Chinese Garden is a reminder of the neighborhood that Japan is in. This expansive garden on the edge of Togo Pond in Yurihama Town is a re-creation of an imperial garden.
The interesting thing about the location is that Yurihama seems like a traditional Japanese bathhouse town. The nearby buildings are like something right out of Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi. There is a sense of irony to the fact that these two cultures can come together so seamlessly in a relatively small area. Somehow looking into China from Japan works and the minute you approach the garden you will see why.
I took Route 151 to Route 22 from Yonago City by car which was like a rollercoaster ride. By train you can take the Sannin line to Matsuzaki Station and walk through the town to the garden from there.
The first thing that you’ll see is an alabaster pavement lined with dragon dogs that seems to go on forever. There is a high arching bridge that spans Route 22, connecting both sides of the complex. Gift shops are outside the garden and they are packed with Chinese themed souvenirs.
The entrance is a vermilion gate and the fee is 500 hundred yen for adults and 180 yen for children. If you show a foreign passport or card for foreign residents it is half price. There are other price schemes for groups as well.
The centerpiece of the garden is the carp filled pond that is surrounded by a series of pavilions and pagodas linked by bridges and walkways. A popular spot for a photo is the grotto where a waterfall replenishes the pond. The inner garden is a peaceful place to stroll through on the way to the performance area. Regular Chinese acrobatic shows are put on in the courtyard between the garden and the haunted house.
If you are interested in seeing a piece of China in Japan, visit Yurihama Town in Tottori.