Shizuoka’s Sunpu Castle Park Momijiyama Garden was something of a surprise for us. Situated on the grounds of the Sunpu Castle which was demolished during the Meiji restoration, Momijiyama Garden is actually a very new construction from the past decade. We’ve been to traditional gardens that are hundreds of years old, but this is probably our first “recently constructed” garden.
The age of the garden doesn’t really matter much; the garden is as beautiful as any other.
This was the first time we got an audio guide included in the admission fee. The guide informed us that the garden has four separate zones which, together, form the overall garden. They are the water garden, the tea garden, the forest garden, and the mountain garden.
Each sculpted scene is taken from the Shizuoka Prefecture. The white rocks along the edge of the pond represent the beach, from which it is possible to see Mt. Fuji represented as a conical hill.
Although it was the middle of December, we were happy to find that the weather was mild and that there were still leaves on the trees. I’m sure the garden would be even more spectacular in the spring, but winter was no letdown — especially since we arrived late in the day, with the softer light, and since we were the only visitors in the garden.
Sunpu Castle is currently undergoing excavation and restoration. Currently it just looks like a lot of deep holes, but in the future there will probably be a reconstructed castle keep, which will be a nice addition to the garden. Right now there’s a combined ticket to visit the garden and two perimeter watch towers, but they didn’t look to interesting so we only visited the garden.