Peach Press: The Kyoto Botanical Garden & Garden of Fine Arts

Transcript from episode:

The Kyoto Botanical Garden

The Kyoto Botanical Garden, which is situated next to the subway's Kitayama Station, is one of Kyoto's most lovely and relaxing attractions. Construction of the garden began in 1917, and it opened seven years later, in the 13th year of the Taisho era. During WWII, the garden was converted into a vegetable garden, producing food rations for Japan, however, in the Post-war Period, the Allied Forces confiscated the land for their personal use. Between the years of 1946 and 1961, many of the shrubs and trees were logged for timber, and the garden fell into major disrepair.

However, in 1961, the garden was returned to the city, and in the years following it's reopening to the public, many new additions were added, including the Western-style garden and the conservatory, which boasts an impressive  showcase of 1200 species of plants. The conservatory itself was built to mimic the shape of the neighboring mountains surrounding Kinkakuji, and has many rooms inside, including an Orchids Room, Useful Plants room, Desert and Savannah room and Jungle Zone.

The garden is built to be enjoyable in every season, and can be visited all year. There are a few bodies of water, fountains and even a working water mill, which was built about 20 years ago. It is fully functional and is maintained by Mr. Yamanaka Shouji. Inside, you can watch rice grains being ground into meal. The park is also full of bird wildlife, and is a popular spot for photographers. Admission to the park is 200yen, with an additional 200 yen for those wishing to see the inside of the conservatory.

The Garden of Fine Arts

The Garden of Fine Arts, next to the Botanical Gardens, was designed by world-renowned Tadao Ando, and is the first of its kind in the world. It is a small-scale, outdoor art museum, where eight works of art have been recreated on thick porcelain panels to fight exposure. The design of the facility is rather minimalist, and can be fully perused in about forty minutes. The western arts included are Monet's Water Lilies: Morning, which is submerged in water, Michelangelo's Last Judgment, da Vinci's The Last Supper, Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon, Van Gogh's Road with Cypress and Star and Renoir's On the Terrace. Two asian works are in the facility as well, Toba Sojo's Animal Caricatures (1 and 2) and Zhang Zeduan's Along the River During the Qingming Festival. Admission is 100 yen.

That's all for this episode- see you next time!