Overview and History

One of the Three Great Gardens of Japan. A cultural heritage site for the world to treasure.

Three Centuries of Beauty

In 1687, daimyō (feudal lord) Ikeda Tsunamasa ordered his vassal Tsuda Nagatada to begin the construction of a new garden. The groundwork took 13 years until 1700, followed by a few other years to complete the buildings and other features, but since then the garden has retained most of its original appearance across the Edo period (1603-1868) until the present day, as shown by many text and graphic documents that the Ikeda Clan left behind, making Korakuen one of the few daimyō gardens in the provinces where historical changes can be studied in details.

The garden was used as a retreat for the daimyōs as well as a place for entertaining their guests, although people of the fiefdom too could visit it on certain occasions. As time went by, successive daimyōs slightly modified the garden adding and removing hills, lawns, ponds and buildings, but the initial concept of Korakuen as a wide, bright space offering beautiful inner and outer vistas remained constant and unaltered. In 1884, the ownership of Korakuen was transferred to Okayama Prefecture and the garden was opened to the general public.

The garden suffered severe damage caused by a typhoon in 1934 and by an air raid in 1945 during the Second World War, but it has been faithfully restored on the basis of numerous historical plans and photographs. In 1952, Korakuen was designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty under the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties, and it is carefully managed as a historical cultural asset to be passed down to future generations.

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