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The Adelaide Himeji Gardens Everything You Need to Know

The Adelaide Himeji Gardens: Everything You Need to Know

When the city’s chaotic hustle and bustle gets too much, our team detoxifies our minds and spirits in serene sanctuaries—one of them being the ever-blossoming Adelaide Himeji Gardens, a taste of Japanese tranquility right in Adelaide’s heart. 

This, my stressed-out and nature-loving friend, could be the site of contemplation and unwinding you’re looking for. All the essential info you need to visit is right here!

Things to Know

Address: Cnr South Terrace &, Glen Osmond Rd, Adelaide SA 5000
Contact Details: (08) 8203 7203
Operating Hours: Daily – 8 am to 5:30 pm
Prices: Free

What is the Adelaide Himeji Gardens?

The Adelaide Himeji Gardens is a stunning botanical retreat where the East meets the West in a harmonious fusion of Japanese serenity and Australian charm. 

It’s a gift from Adelaide’s sister city in Japan, Himeji, and you can expect traditional Japanese garden designs and meticulously crafted landscapes here that might make you ask, “Am I in a Studio Ghibli film?” 

This spot has an authentic tea house, a well-designed pond, winding stone pathways, and other Japanese garden features focusing on meditation. They offer a soothing escape, where even heads hotter than fish grease can leaf their worries behind.

How to Get Here

How to Get Here

Walking: Who needs a gym when you can walk your way to botanical bliss? You can start your path to peacefulness at Victoria Square (Stop T1 and Stop VS3 are the closest bus stops). From there, head south on Grote Street. 

Then, turn right onto Morphett Street and continue straight. Finally, turn left onto South Terrace, and voila! You will find the Adelaide Himeji Gardens on your left.

Cycling: Prefer hopping on your trusty bicycle and pedaling away? Well, simply follow the dedicated cycling path along Grote Street, feeling the wind in your hair as you head south. 

Make a sharp right turn onto Morphett Street and continue pedaling straight towards South Terrace where you’ll find the garden.

By Car: From Grote Street, take a right turn onto Morphett Street. Drive until you reach its intersection with South Terrace.

A left turn will lead you to your new Zen spot!

The Best Time to Visit

The Best Time to Visit

We suggest planning your garden escapade during spring, from September to November. 

Why, you ask? Spring offers radiant flowers and nearly flawless weather, with temperatures ranging from a delightful 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F). It’s like nature herself is saying, “Hey, take a break from your busy life and bask in my floral glory!”  

What is in the Adelaide Himeji Gardens? 

The Gatehouse

With its elegant design and attention to detail, the Gatehouse sets the tone for the overall experience of the garden. 

Its traditional elements, such as the sloping tiled roof, wooden latticework, and intricate carvings, transported our team to Himeji’s courtyards, evoking a sense of cultural richness needed for our visit.

Pro Tip: Before entering the garden, we insist on washing your hands using the traditional bowl or tsubakai placed before the Gatehouse. 

By partaking in this ritual, you actively embrace the cherished Japanese tradition of purifying oneself before entering sacred spaces and gardens.  

The Garden Pond

The water in the garden pond shimmers like liquid silk, reflecting the hues of the surrounding flora. Lily pads that look like tiny green islands dot the pond’s surface. 

We were welcomed by the verdant greenery enveloping the pond, with the fascinating black pine or matsu acting as the centerpiece. 

In Japanese tradition, the matsu is revered as a symbol of strength, resilience, and courage, as it remains evergreen even during harsh times like winter.

As we sat on the pond’s edges, we also saw dragonflies skimming on the rocks’ corners, where turtles shellaxed

A few tiny frogs were also perched and chilling on the lily pads. They were so carefree and cute that they made our hearts melt!

Pro Tip

  • Check out the pond’s striking rock formations. They offer a bold contrast to the water’s quietness. Some have crevices adorned by fine moss, but most are still solid as a rock, which might be why ducks and their ducklings love nestling atop them! 
  • Take snaps of the goldfish, koi, and yabbies living in the pond. The colors they add to this attraction, with your wonderful selfie smile, are all Instagram-worthy.

The Karesansui Garden

The Karesansui Garden, also called the Zen Garden, showcases well-manicured and raked gravel resembling flowing water and carefully positioned rocks representing mighty mountains. 

It’s an embodiment of the principles of Zen philosophy.

Through its minimalistic design and intentional use of natural elements, the Karesansui Garden encourages visitors to let go of distractions, embrace simplicity, and find a sense of calm within themselves. 

This means stillness is paramount here, so no running kids!

Pro Tip

  • Stepping foot on the Karesansui Garden is a huge no-no, too. We recommend appreciating the view from a distance and not touching anything. 
  • Additionally, your experience here will be better if you pair the view with a good book about meditation like Shunryū Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind or Alan Watts’ The Way of the Zen.
  • That said, finding a spot to sit can be challenging, as most of the garden’s structures are off-limits. 

How to solve this? Well, a personal foldable chair could be your saving grace!

Stone Lanterns

Stone Lanterns

Scattered in the garden’s corners (the one in the middle of the pond is our favorite!), these stone lanterns or toro have an intriguing history. They’re one of the reminders of Himeji and Adelaide’s strong connection. 

The stone lanterns were first introduced to Japanese gardens as early as the 6th century, influenced by Buddhist and Shinto practices. 

They represent the light of enlightenment, guiding visitors on a metaphorical journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening. 

Pro Tip: The stone lanterns also represent Buddhist elements, life, and life after death. So, as you marvel at their beauty, feel free to ponder the meaning of life.

Kadumatsu Offerings

Kadumatsu Offerings

Kadomatsu offerings symbolize a balanced blend of natural elements and represent the spirits of strength, good fortune, and prosperity. 

The pine branches, evergreen and resilient, represent strength and longevity, while the bamboo stalks, known for their fast growth, symbolize flexibility and resilience.

We found their graceful presence at the entrance of Adelaide Himeji Gardens’ Gatehouse and Tea House. Try to spot them, as they’re known to bring good luck and positive vibes for an entire year!

Pro Tip

  • We advise observing the kadomatsu with a sense of appreciation for its cultural significance. This means you have to resist the urge to touch or disturb the arrangement.
  • While you may be tempted to take a selfie with the kadomatsu, it’s best to refrain from doing so out of respect for the sacredness of the offerings. However, taking a photo of it is a different story. Just ensure its solemness is maintained.


The typical sounds we heard in the Adelaide Himeji Gardens are the songs of fantails, the gentle flow of water, and the distinct clack of the shishi-odoshi. Shishi-odoshi, or “deer scare,” is a traditional Japanese bamboo fountain.

These captivating contraptions serve a dual purpose: practicality and symbolism. While its original goal was to spook boars or deer, the shishi-odoshi is now used to promote meditation. 

Its clacking sound is often utilized to remind humans of time’s passage. Some view it as a symbol of renewal and the balance between humans and nature. 

Pro Tip

  • You can find these bamboo fountains near Adelaide Himeji Garden’s waterways. There’s one close to the stone porches by the pond, while some are hidden by thick foliage and bonsai. 
  • If you’re having trouble finding them, try to relax and wait for the sound they produce. Also, most are placed next to stone lanterns, so if you see the latter, there’s a high chance a shishi-odoshi is nearby.

The Tea House

As we reached Adelaide Himeji Gardens’ rear, we caught glimpses of the Tea House or chashitsu, a Japanese-inspired architectural wonder embodying the simplicity and elegance of the chaji, Japan’s formal tea ceremony. 

The Tea House is crafted with the warmth of wood and the rustic charm of thatched roofing, clearly inspired by the open pavilions gracing the porches of Zen temples. Its main purpose is to foster a peaceful relationship among the tea ceremony’s participants. 

Pro Tip: To celebrate your friendship and harmonious relationships, why don’t you sip some Japanese tea in the garden’s Tea House with your loved ones? Matcha and sencha are terrific options, as they’re often used for meditation! 

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