Oyakuen (御薬園) is also known as “Aizuwakamatsu’s Royal Garden“. The second Chinese character 薬 (kusuri or yaku) means “medicine” and refers to the fact that medicinal plants and herbs were grown there.

The garden was originally built from 1429 to 1441 as a villa for Ashina Morihisa, the tenth lord of the Aizu-Ashina clan (会津蘆名氏), on the spot with natural spring water that was believed to cure all sorts of ailments. In 1670, Hoshina Masatsune (保科正経) started to grow medicinal plants, in particular, Korean ginseng and encouraged the residents of Aizuwakamatsu to follow his example. Matsudaira Masakata (松平正容), the third feudal lord of the Hoshina/Matsudaira clan had the garden entirely redesigned by Meguro Jotei (目黒浄定), a famous landscape architect and garden designer. Meguro transformed it into a typical Japanese-style garden with a pond and the Rakujutei (楽寿亭), a small wooden structure with a thatched roof, constructed on an island in the pond and to be reflected by the pool.

The garden was in a state of destruction after the Boshin War of 1868 but was repaired and designated a National Cultural Treasure in 1932. It comprises a tea house, the Ochaya-goten (御茶屋御殿) where you can try Japanese matcha (for 500 JPY, including a traditional snack), and the Chōyōkaku (重陽閣), a three-storey building that was initially located in the Higashiyama district of Aizuwakamatsu. It was used twice by Princess Setsuko (also known as Princess Chichibu), an Aizu native who married into the imperial family. The building was moved to the current location in 1973.

Access and admission

Access: You can reach the Matsudaira Family Tombs by Aizu City Bus (H21 station, “Oyakuen” or A20 station, “Oyakuen Iriguchi”). Please refer to our Aizuwakamatsu page for more information on transportation.

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Map of Oyakuen (click to enlarge)

Admission: 310 JPY, 260 JPY for high school students, 150 JPY for junior high and elementary school students, group rates available; admission plus tea tasting: 700 JPY, 600 JPY for high school students, 500 JPY
for junior high and elementary school students.

Hours: daily from 08:30 to 17:00 (last entry at 16:30).

Related links
  • Oyakuen (website of the Aizu-Wakamatsu City Tourism Bureau, in English)
Map: