Have you ever heard of Kyoto’s Hakuryuen?

There probably aren’t many who have heard this name before. And that may be a matter of course, as it was only opened in 2012. But what’s amazing about it is its exclusivity: it only opens for a month and a half for the fresh green of spring, and a month for the foliage in November. Not only that, but every opening is limited to only 100 participants per day.

Despite the massive amount of tourists in Kyoto every autumn (said to be over five million), the event keeps its limit at 100. Why enforce such a strict rule? We’ve dedicated this article to asking why.

You’ll likely begin to get a feeling for why the moment you set foot on the premises.

This stone pillar for instance,or the stairs,or in the spaces between the stairs, even the cobbled roads…
 
The secret to the limit is none other than moss. Normally, moss will not grow over such a wide area, and for it to grow so completely over an entire surface is very rare. Kyoto houses several Japanese gardens, but the chance to see something like this is hard to find. In other words, the purpose of the 100 person rule is to help protect and raise the moss. Hakuryuen was actually designed and created fifty years before it opened. Until then, gardeners would look after it daily, and created it slowly with care. You can feel their years of effort and care while on the grounds.
 

Moegi and Vermillion

The moss is wonderful, but the foliage is also a must-see. Here it’s better to show rather than tell.

Hakuryukan: a Secret Garden in Kyoto


Ticket Information:

With the 100 person limit, tickets are hard to come by. How do you get them?

①They are only sold at the information center at Eizan Dentetsu’s Demachi Yanagi Station
②Only one is available per customer.
③Tickets are only available for that day.

The tickets are called “Hakuryuen Special Viewing Tickets” (白龍園特別観覧きっぷ). The thing you should pay the most attention to is the fact that you do not buy them at Hakuryuen, you buy them at the Demachi Yanagi Station.

They start selling them at 9 am, but often sell out the moment they become available. You’ll have to line up first thing in the morning if you want them. You will want to be in line at least an hour beforehand. If you can, its best to get there even sooner than that.

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