Sankeien: The Traditional Japanese Garden

Win a trip to Yokohoma and see Sankeien!

By Lynn Ooi


If you’ve ever wondered what a traditional Japanese garden is like, head to Yokohama’s Sankeien. While it’s a lot further than taking a train towards Jurong (it’s in Japan, for starters), you’ll get to explore the real deal, minus the hot sweaty mess.

Plus, you’ll not only get to see a traditional Japanese garden landscape (complete with ponds, bonsai trees and cute little bridges) – you’ll also get to see a collection of some of Japan’s most famous traditional-style houses all in one place.


Just a short excursion from the metropolis of Yokohama, Sankeien feels miles away from the madding crowd. Built in 1902, it was once a private garden of a wealthy Yokohama businessman and features 2 zones: the outer garden and a private inner garden.

From the larger outer garden, you’ll be able to see the park’s landmark – the Three-Story Pagoda of Old Tomyoji – reflected on the main lake. In between the cutesy red bridge and bonsai trees are some traditional-style houses, including an Edo-period thatch-roofed house with original fixtures. You can pop into most of these structures to see how the people here once lived. Let the tatami floors, open-hearth kitchen and paper sliding doors take you back to the old days of Japan.

The inner garden is where the best buildings and gardens are: surrounding the Rinshunkaku (a 17th century villa of a Tokugawa feudal lord) is a sublimely picturesque Japanese garden with plenty of stone paths and arched bridges dotted with trees both tall and stunted. Take the time to admire an authentic tea house (made of local mud) – the entrance of which is so low you are supposed to kneel and bow upon entering as a sign of respect for the tea master.

While tea hasn’t been served there since the 19th century, you can enjoy a traditional tea ceremony at the visitor’s centre that doubles up as a museum.

The best season to come here is autumn, when the foliage here turns into fiery reds and yellows – something you’ll never get to see in tropical Singapore.

Intrigued? You can stand a chance to win A 4D/3N TRIP TO YOKOHAMA FOR 2! Click here ( to enter, and you may be on your way to enjoy Sankeien’s garden in its autumn foliage glory.