Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hakone Estate & Gardens

View Hakone Estate & Gardens in a larger map

  • 18-acres Japanese garden
  • Fish, Turtles and Duck in Koi Pond
  • Hakone’s Lanterns and Carved Stones
  • Tea Plantation
  • Bamboo Garden
  • Flora
  • Photography
  • Marriage/Birthday Events   

More Info
  • $7/person admission fee; Free admission on Tuesdays
  • Credit cards accepted
  • Dedicated parking space
  • Gift shop
  • Guide and map provided at the gift shop

On a bright Sunday morning, while pondering over a nice place to visit and take a leisurely walk, Hakone Gardens came to our minds. We passed by the Hakone Gardens while on our way to Big Basin a few months ago and since then I have been waiting for spring to visit this place.

We went to the gardens at 2ish to avoid the sun being directly above our heads. A tapering, steep, half a mile road from Big Basin Way took us directly to the garden parking lot. We bought the tickets from the gift shop and the lady gave us two gold colored coins and a map of the gardens. We dropped the gold colored coins to open the turnstiles at the garden entrance and with the map in our hands, we were all set to explore every nook and corner.

Koi Pond

Our first stop inside the garden was at the Koi pond, where there was a plethora of fish, turtles and ducks. The small, flamboyant turtles basking on the stones made me contemplate whether they were fake, but apparently they were not.
Turtles in Koi Pond

The fish did several somersaults like dolphins and showed off other aerobatic stunts that made me wonder whether I was in my dream world. I believe these fish know that we will never harm them, so they daringly come to the edge of the pond. The fish are so big and they open their mouths so wide that I could even peek into its mouth by bending down a little bit. Kids just love this place!

Fish in Koi Pond

We used the map as a guide to take us around the park, where there are several observation decks, Bamboo gardens, Tea plantations, waterfalls and culturally significant Japanese statues. As the garden is at an elevation, there are a few spots along the trail, where you might be able to spot a panoramic view of the valley.


The garden is very well maintained and it was soothing to walk among the lush gardens and colorful spring flowers. Unconsciously, the greenery around filled us with tranquility. We were surprised and happy that such a beauty exists just within a 30minutes drive from San Jose.


These gardens are also a popular sight for weddings and to take photo shoots. We noticed several couples dressed up and taking pictures. We will go back again, better dressed up to capture a few good photo shoots here.

Spring Flowers

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