A person who wants to see some nature to escape their busy cities should visit Akao Herb and Rose Garden.
If you are in Shizuoka, Atami City will surely appear in your radar. After all, Atami City is a popular city during Summer because of its beaches. However, once a person is in Atami City, you will only hear about their famous Onsen 温泉 (Hotsprings). After all, that’s what Atami is most popular for. When I went to Atami, I decided to stay there for 1 whole day (read here: A Day in Atami), so I had the time to tour the city. I did not expect to find a huge, and I say hugeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, garden housing variety of flowers, trees, and many cafes. The place is called Akao Herb and Rose Garden (アカオハーブ&ローズガーデン).
Arriving to Akao and the Logistics
After riding a long and winding road on top of the mountain via the City Bus from Atami Station (for ¥290.00) to Akao, I arrived to a very long line of visitors. Akao is quite popular, I realized. So it would be better to go there early. The entrance fees are also expensive, but it’s workable.
My Time in Akao
I would have to say this a couple of time until it sinks in to me; Akao is hugeeeeeeeeeee! The garden literally occupies one whole mountain, if it’s not a hill, that a bus would need to take you to the top in order for you to only begin your tour from the top to the foot of the place.
Your exploration would start on the top of the mountain/hill by visiting a Shinto shrine that is situated on top and right on the place where the bus will drop you off.
Wrote My Well-wishes at Soga Shrine
An old soul like me will always prefer to walk up to a shrine when I see one. I love basking with cultures after all. I was too tired from the train ride and I needed to give up my visit to Kinomiya Shrine before going to Akao, so I felt lucky that Akao has a small shrine on top of it. Visiting the Soga Shrine inside Akao gave me a kind consolation.
Giving you a cute shot of a kid who went to the shrine with his parents. I just need to share this with you and let’s giggle with his cuteness together; かわいい！
Lastly, the people there told me that I can write my own well-wishes as well even though I don’t practice Shintoism. And so I did. I wished for world peace. Cliché but necessary; with all the terrorist wars in each countries we live in, especially in Yemen and many more countries leaving people displaced, I just needed to wish for world peace.
Next, I went down from the shrine and started my long walk down to the foot of the mountain.
Walking down and Envying Families Picnicking Together
If there was one thing that I wished when I visited Akao, that would be visiting this beautiful place with my family. Or if I couldn’t do that, at least visiting this place with my Anton. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do both so I was stuck there, busy wishing that I could do what those people were doing. What are they doing, you asking me? They’re laying down their foods, doing a picnic with their loved ones, and enjoying the terrific view that Akao has to offer.
You see, Akao occupies a huge chunk of the mountain it is located on, and it faces the ocean. When you visit there, you can definitely find a perfect place to sit down with your family, enjoy smelling the scents of the flowers around, and revel on the terrific view of the ocean before you. I almost broke down because all I could think of is how perfect it would be to be there with my family or my boyfriend. *mopes in silence*
If you are planning to visit Akao with your family, it would be great to spend the whole day there. Take your time and sit down with them, do a picnic with them, and enjoy the place together. It is definitely a place for family get-togethers or perhaps a lovely place for romantic dates.
Reveling on the Variety of Flower Gardens
What I love most about Akao is their gardens. It is after all, a huge garden. They have variety of landscapes, types of flowers, plants, and many more!
They have vine tunnels!
Their Roses were no longer as pretty when I visited there. It was the end of Summer after all. Nonetheless, their Rose Gardens were still beautiful.
I don’t know these random colorful plants but there were many of them there. Plants that you would think are weeds or just random sprouts, but they have pretty colors so you will still love them.
I also met these very beautiful weeds that I don’t know what the name is.
Here’s a snap while I’m surrounded by random flowers. Would’ve been great if I was not wearing a mask. This pandemic really is an inconvenience! *laughs*
They also have this random plated tree that we usually see as a miniature on people’s living rooms all around the world. I don’t know what this is called but it stands defiantly at the center of Akao.
They also house peculiar trees all around the park. They usually stand defiantly in the middle of the gardens, there green body surrounded by colorful flowers just like this one below.
Establishments in Akao
Aside from being a garden, Akao also provides many establishments around the place. They have multiple cafes selling soaps, perfumes, drinks, and cakes. You can find their cafes in multiple locations as you walk from the top to the bottom of the park. I didn’t take a snap of the cafes because they’re not my favorite places in the park, but believe me, their cafes were also pretty. So don’t worry!
What I love also about Akao is that they have nooks and corners where people can just relax and sit down aside from their cafes. First, they have a place where you can play games like billiards, golf for children, and many more. I was not able to take a shot of that, so sorry. However, I was able to take pictures of these beautiful corners of Akao where you can take gorgeous pictures and at the same time, rest.
This Romeo and Juliet veranda, for the lack of terms.
This shade with old benches and a bell at the middle.
This Swing where you can create the illusion of swinging at the edge of a cliff. Unfortunately, everyone wants to try that swing, and since I didn’t have the time to wait in line, I just took a snap of it from afar.
And so ever randomly, they have this cut tree trunk sprouting all of a sudden beside the path overlooking the ocean.
In Summary . . .
It took me 1 hour to walk from the top of Akao to the bottom of the park. Yes, I walked quickly and didn’t take my time because I wanted to visit another tourist spot after Akao. However, I’d dare say that if I was there with my family, friends, or with my boyfriend, I would’ve stayed longer. It was lovely there. I can honestly say that the gardens were not as beautiful as I imagined they would be, but the place is still a great place to relax and unwind, especially with your loved ones.
Some takeaways? Here:
- Akao is a great place for family get-togethers or romantic dates! Worth it if you want to spend a whole day there, aside from the fact that the entrance fee is expensive, it would be great to have ample time to try all the things they offer.
- It’s very far and the ride to the garden is quite dangerous.
- It would’ve been great to go here after visiting the Atami Castle, because of the route of the City Bus.
- Bring water and umbrella! It’s such a long walk! Make sure to wear Sun Block.
- Best time to go there? Depends on the season! They have specific flower gardens per season. Check their website for more details. For Summer, it would’ve been better to go there around first week of August.
- Total expenses is ¥1,390, since I just paid for the bus ride and the entrance fee. I bet it will be more expensive if you would want to buy their soaps or their smoothies.
- More details? Check them out here:
Akao Herbs and Rose Garden
(1027-8 Kamitaga, Atami, Shizuoka 413-0101)
Contact Number: +81557821221
I hope you enjoyed my 1 hour trip inside Akao Herbs and Rose Garden! Interested in checking out more places in Atami? Read my day in Atami here.