If you think that London has only local gardens and ones made by the British people for the British people, then you have obviously never been to Holland Park. There you can see an amazing exotic garden – a gift from the Chamber of Commerce of Kyoto in 1991, and a great representation of the Japanese style of gardening. Stylised as a piece of Japan itself, the garden is hidden within Holland Park and is a place for meditation and peaceful walks. It is one of the quietest and most tranquil places in all of London and you will be shocked to hear the clarity of your thoughts outside of and far from the bustle of the City. A real jewel of nature, the Kyoto Garden will accommodate you for a stroll, run, or picnic with the family.
Water plays a big role in the park as you can circle around the various koi ponds or sit at their banks and watch the colourful fish’s peaceful swim or the ripples they create on the surface – the same ripples that reflect the rhythm of your thoughts which now will be more concentrated than ever.
If you prefer a more restless area, then go near the waterfall in the Kyoto Gardens which represents the steep mountains of the natural world. It is not the only reflection on nature in the Gardens – most of the landscape has been made to symbolise parts of nature.
Take strolls over the stone paths and marvel at the foreign landscape which has been sustained by excellent garden maintenance and lawn care. Find yourself surrounded by a foreign environment which you can only see in the tranquillity of the Japanese countryside, or of their gifted parks to the outside world. Beautiful trees, green grounds, and vibrant colours brought by a variety of flowers on the ground and in bushes will startle you many times you turn your head to a direction you have so far failed to see. You will get an education in language and terms as you learn what toro, tsukabai, and shishiodoshi are (stone lanterns, washbasin, and a bamboo alarm system for animals sneaking around in your garden). You can marvel both at the naturalness of the stones around the ponds and the expert sculpting technique of the builders of the toro and tsukabai.
This is the place for meditation, and the perfect spot to cut yourself from the world by just closing your eyes and delving into your thoughts, or sinking in a musical rest with your phone or player. The Gardens are perfect if you live a hectic family life and seek to escape it for a while – simply bring the family around for a picnic and rest or sink into the pages of a book while your children play around the park.
Very few other places in London will allow you to witness and experience such calmness – one that even invites animals that would normally stay away to come out, and so you can share a meadow with a squirrel or two as you have a peaceful conversation with a friend or relative. And the squirrels and carp are not the only wildlife to be seen in the Kyoto Gardens. You can behold a variety of birds, such as the rare peacocks, adding even more colour to the already marvellous Gardens.
And there you have it. If you are near Holland Park, or even if you are merely visiting London, then you definitely need to skip over to the Kyoto Gardens to breathe the fresh air of peaceful nature, see the quietest wildlife in any park, and sink into a meditative state where very little other places in the world will offer you.