While Seepark itself is a delightful place in all seasons whether for a walk or a picnic, did you know that there is a Japanese Garden inside the Seepark? If you did not, well now you do! I have been there a couple of times in autumn and winter but since the weather has been so warm and pleasant I thought it was time to see the Japanese Garden in spring – hopefully all green and in full bloom.
If you are in StuSie, you can just take the usual entrance and walk all the way to the back you will see it almost at the other side of the lake. But if you come from the city centre or want to see the garden first then you can take the tram 1, get off at Betzenhauser Torplatz instead of Am Bischofskreuz then cross the street to your right and walk straight ahead, you can’t possibly miss it! It would be on your left; just at the opposite of Bürgerhaus Seepark.
The beautiful wooden gate welcomes you and it makes you feel like you are about to step into another world. Outside, on the right, you can read the information about the garden’s architectural components. The garden is 3,500 m² and was planned by the Japanese architect Yoshinori Tokumoto who himself is from Matsuyama. Matsuyama lies in the southwest of Japan and it is the capital city of Ehime Prefecture. Why is this relevant? Because Matsuyama is one of Freiburg’s Sister Cities. The garden was opened in 5 May 1990 to celebrate the friendship and bound between the people of these two towns as the inscription at the entrance states.
Once you go in, just follow the path and it leads you a stroll through the garden. Further back on your right you see the wooden pavilion that invites you to its shade for a rest. Originally, these wooden pavilions are also used as places for the traditional tea ceremony.
The harmony of the wooden material and nicely shaped pebble ground indeed feels like a whole different place. You can enjoy your drink there if you have brought along one like I did and observe the details from a different angle.
Unfortunately, when I was there, the waterfall and the small stream under the bridge were dry, but try your luck in forthcoming days since I guess there will be water in warmer weather. Then, I am sure it will be even more pleasant with the sound of the water in the background since it is a typical for a Japanese garden.
As you can get a glimpse from the pictures all the trees are well maintained by the Freiburg Municipality and the garden itself is very clean in general. I was lucky enough to catch the magnolia tree in full bloom however, to my surprise I did not encounter any sakura trees.
Finally to mention my personal favorite: the stone lanterns. I have read that they are originals from Japan. Normally, they were first built in Buddhist shrines. However, within time they have become a central figure even in secular and urban Japanese architecture. Besides they come in many kinds and shapes! At the garden, two of them caught my eyes, the other one is hidden in one of the photos above see if you can find it! 🙂 And the other one is below and it is very beautiful in my opinion.
Overall, the Japanese garden expresses a strong natural bond and unity between nature and people in general as well as celebrating the tie between the Sister Cities Matsuyama and Freiburg however far away they are from each other geographically. Traditionally, the Japanese Garden is a place of peace and tranquility. I have even seen an artist who was quietly sketching his surroundings. So if you are looking for a change of scenery and some inspiration just go there and enjoy this beautiful garden!
P.S: Bonus spring beauty from Seepark! Enjoy!
*all photos are taken by me unless otherwise is stated.