Any time I visit Japan, a visit to a Japanese landscape garden is almost a certainty. They are exquisite at any time of the year, but especially so during the fall foliage season.

During the recent trip with a group from Stillwater, a garden visit was rather special. The garden was in Hiroshima, a city whose name is familiar to almost every American. I visited the garden with City Councilmen Tom Dugger, and we encountered a special couple and a group with whom we took a photo.

The name of the garden is Shukkeien Garden which means literally “shrink-scenery garden. It was originally constructed in the early 1620s and was patterned after a scene in Hangzhou, China. In the center of the garden is a bridge across a pond which is different in design than any I have seen in Japan.

It’s a high arch stone bridge called the straddling rainbow bridge. As Councilman Dugger and I entered the garden we met a young couple who had just completed exchanging wedding vows in the garden. We were able to take their photo in their wedding kimonos and offer our congratulations on their marriage.

We came across a group of university students who asked if they could take their photo with us. Previous to coming to the garden we visited the A-bomb museum and Hiroshima Castle so it was a very memorable morning in Hiroshima, one of Japan’s most modern and attractive cities.

Larry Jones is an ambassador at the OSU Botanical Garden.

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