Complete with water lilies and weeping willows, visiting this series of gardens boast over 70,000 different plants. Walking through it feels like into an Impressionist painting, and for good reason. Rather than attempting to copy the gardens from Claude Monet’s home in Giverny, these gardens in Japan’s Kōchi Prefecture have actually brought the artist’s paintings to life.
There are three separate gardens that aim to capture three periods in Monet’s artistic style. The most iconic is probably the Water Garden, which is inspired by his famous paintings of water lilies. This is fitting, as they (and the parts of his garden in Giverny they were modeled upon) were in fact influenced by Japanese ukiyo-e block prints. So, in a way, the water lilies have come full circle.
The Flower Garden captures something of the layered dashes of color that distinguish Monet’s works. Plants, flowers and trees are carefully planted at different heights, to create a joyous mishmash of color. Although it is particularly vibrant in the summer, throughout the year different flowers come into bloom, creating seasonal landscapes.
The Light Garden celebrates the artist’s somewhat lesser known Mediterranean period. Monet left Giverny to capture the colors and light across the Mediterranean from 1883 to 1908. This works out well, as Kochi’s warm weather is ideal for plants from the region, and the palm trees and bougainvillea look right at home.
In case you are heading to France next, the ticket gives you free admission to the garden in Giverny! Oh, and don’t forget to eat Monet’s hat before leaving (available at the bakery).
Know Before You Go
The garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and closed on Tuesdays (unless it happens to be a public holiday).
It takes just over an hour by train or bus to reach the garden from Kochi City.