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Kyoto Garden
Holland Park
Ilchester Place
West London, W14 8AA

Closest station: Holland Park

Opening times:
Opens at 7.30am in summer and 8.00am in winter, closes 30 minutes before dusk

Japanese garden in Kensington

Amidst the traditional European-style houses in West Kensington, I find the Kyoto Garden, London's only Japanese style garden.

First built in 1991 with a grant from the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce, it was refurbished in 2001 and described as "one of the three places you will never forget in London."

Japan in London

Being inside the serene Kyoto Garden makes it hard to believe you are actually in London. The atmosphere is quiet, away from the noises of the city.

Every effort has been made in order to give it a strong Japanese essence. The garden houses a wide variety of Japanese trees and plants including the famous Bonsai.

The walls are built from Japanese bamboo and paths leading to the ponds are lined with colourful stones, which are a signature feature of Japan's traditional gardens.

One of the most striking sights inside the garden is a waterfall; the sound of water cascading down its rocky paths is like a soothing melody for your nerves.

Mesmerising

Visitors are seen lazing around, enjoying the lush green and fresh air. Many of them are seated around a large pond in the middle, filled with money (thrown in by people making wishes) and koi carps (unusual Japanese fish).

One visitor says: "I like it here very much. I often bring my granddaughter to play here. She likes the koi cap and I just enjoy watching her. "

The beauty of the Kyoto Garden also surprises some foreign travellers. Thomas from France observes: "It was an impromptu decision, to visit Holland Park. But it is really beautiful. Although I have never been to Japan, it feels like I am there now."

Even native Japanese like to go for a walk in the garden. Mizuho who has lived in London for 10 years says: "It is not the same as many gardens in Kyoto. But if you come here in autumn, it looks more like what it is in Japan, with the entire garden turning a brilliant shade of orange."

Di Zou