House and upper garden (Photo: Andrew Checkley)

Hirosaki: Fujita Memorial Garden

Cake and tea? Cha and wagashi?

House and upper garden (Photo: Andrew Checkley)
Andrew Checkley   - 2 min read

First owned by local businessman Fujita Kenichi (after whom it is now named), the Fujita Memorial Garden provides an interesting little diversion from the city’s main tourist sites.

A ten minute walk from the main gate of Hirosaki Castle, stopping for tea and a rest in the café after wandering the castle grounds is certainly recommended.

Open until 5 o’clock and charging 300 yen for entry, the ornamental garden was completed in 1919, and is divided into an upper and lower section, with several unobtrusive buildings sited in each.

The upper section carries the usual selection of precisely positioned and modeled trees and shrubs, each minutely pruned, with a view of the towering Mt. Iwake on clear days. A small museum and a true architectural oddity can also be found within.

The former house now functioning as a café is a strange collision of traditional Japanese and early 20th century European architecture, completed at the beginning of last century.

A short descent brings you to the lower garden, enjoying water features and a Japanese tea ceremony pavilion, which can be rented for parties of a certain size. The small cliff is adorned by a miniature waterfall, framing an ornamental bridge painted in the typical vermillon.

Falling into a miniature pond split with an interesting zig-zag crossing, this waterfall is heard on your descent and seen upon your arrival.

Whether you prefer the Eastern or Western way of tea, both chalet and chasitsu offer pleasant views onto their respective gardens. You should expect a wait if you visit the café in busy periods, but even in the height of blossom season this shouldn’t be more than 20-30 minutes, which is best spent examining the house itself.

Andrew Checkley

Andrew Checkley @andrew.checkley

Travelling, writing, drinking, in that order of importance though preferably at the same time.