While many come here to visit the Art Museum, we come to stroll in the Japanese garden. You can pay a garden-only entrance fee which is quite minimal, and even smaller for seniors.
Along with the Japanese strolling garden, the grounds include a European garden, several large statues and sculpture installations on a broad open lawn area often populated by kiddie playgroups (and children happily climbing on the abstract sculptures), family gatherings, young couples, seniors, and, of course, the Art Museum itself.
The small Japanese garden, tucked into the far reaches of the grounds, is well worth your time. We found that late morning visits provided better light than later in the afternoon. We have been several times at different times of day. The autumn foliage never disappoints. This is a popular place and it often has many tourists. If you want to take photos without people - as we do - you will find yourself waiting a long time before you can get your desired shot.
The circuit around the koi pond offered many different views, some including borrowed scenery. At the top of a small hill is a lovely tea house. Two women (volunteers?) invited us to take our shoes off to photograph the space. They also gave us a pamphlet in English about the tea house. They seemed most pleased that we showed such interest in the building. Be aware that there are uneven steps up to and down from the tea house.
After making a second circuit around the pond and photoing the garden from every angle we finally decided it was time to depart.
This is a perfect place to visit before or after a walk through the very close Nature Institute. Happo-en garden can be visited on the same (very full) day as well.
Ask about a senior, over 65, discount for entrance - be prepared to show you passport to prove your age.
Even if you don’t visit the Art Museum, you can visit BLANC, one of two shops for the Museum, located just outside the entrance to the grounds. Lots of interesting items for sale here.