About the garden
Opened in 1990 by The Yamada Family, Barakura English Garden is the first English-style garden to be built in Japan. The garden is located in the mountainous resort area of Tateshina in central Nagano prefecture at an altitude of 1,100 metres. This is a hot-spring area with many Japanese Ryokan and Western-style hotels and is also a popular location for fell-walking in summer and skiing in winter.
Initially designed by John Brookes MBE, it has introduced many different plants to Japan from such eminent British suppliers as Peter Beales Roses, Hillier Nurseries and also handmade terracotta pots from Whichford Pottery. It was the first garden in Japan to plant Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ and Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’. The garden planting combines Japanese native plants, often widely used in English gardens, with imported foreign species and hybrids, to create a unique gardening experience.
The Kay Yamada Gardening School invites many well-known British gardening figures as guest lecturers to its numerous events throughout the year. Barakura endeavours to spread the ethos of British horticulture with an emphasis on container gardening. Ms Kay Yamada has exhibited three times and won three medals in the Show Garden category at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. As a fashion designer, she draws inspiration from the plants in the garden to create textiles.
Many times throughout the year the garden is brought alive with music, including opera, jazz and even a brass quintet from the Royal Marines Concert Band. British style food is available from the café and bakery, with many mouth-watering home-baked recipes available. From the snowy depths of winter through to the rainbow hues of autumn, the ever-changing flowers of Barakura English Garden welcomes more than 200,000 visitors every year – let them welcome you too.