There is a place near Delft where you can sip tea, watch colorful koi (carpa) fishes swim lazily in a man-made lagoon and just let time pass by while enjoying the tranquility of a one-of-a-kind garden. What started as a rich man’s private garden is now one of West Holland’s secret hideaway, open to the public for free for most days.
“Sparkling waterfalls, meandering creaks, solid natural rocks, colorful fishes, exotic flowers, plants and trees. These are the overwhelming Japanese natural and cultural sights that you can see in the Japanse Watertuinen in Westlande Naaldwijk”
This is how the brochure described the Japanese Water Garden in Delft. But the place is actually more relaxing than exotic (this is coming from someone who came from the tropics). The sound of the running water serves as a soothing music that eases your soul on a quiet Thursday afternoon.
Housed on a glass complex, the Japanese Watergarden is not a huge like other tropical gardens in the Netherlands. You can walk around the whole place in 10 minutes. As the name suggests, the themed-garden is teeming with all things Japanese, small waterfalls and man-made creeks, lots of bonsai trees, charming little birds singing as if they are not locked in cages, and lots of koi fishes. The fishes are the main attraction of the garden, you cannot turn around without seeing them.
I have visited the Japanese Garden twice. The first time was when I played assistant to hubby who is photographing the wedding of his team leader. The couple chose the Japanese Watergarden for their wedding pictorial. I especially love their photos of drinking wine in the tiny rain forest, a separate part of the garden which is warmer than the rest of the place.
The second time was when we took my parents-in-law there. It was a holiday, the tweede pasdagen so we have to pay 2euros/per person. The place was filled with people, rapidly increasing as the day is getting later. We actually planned to go to Bisbosch but the weather was not that promising so we made a detour to the Japanese Watergarden.
Only then that I was able to fully appreciate its charm, literally smelling the (fragrance of) the blooms. Since it was lunchtime when we arrived, the first order of business was to eat. The restaurant inside the garden only offers sandwiches, pastries, teas, coffee, alcohol and other beverages but not heavy lunch. We were actually expecting sushi, maki’s and other Japanese snacks (since they also offer Sushi making classes) but we were disappointed. I settled for a tuna sandwich.
The family matriarch loved the small bell flowers while dad and hubby were identifying the plants. I, on the other hand, busied myself marveling at the crazy combination of colors on the skin of a carpa. Nature’s wonders. There was one bonsai tree near the big rocks which says it is 900 hundred years old. I expressed disbelief but the rest of the family thought it is true. And it can be. Bonsai trees can last a lifetime, 100 years of more.
It was a gezellige afternoon in the Japanese Watergarden. When we left, hubby was already toying with the idea of joining the bonsai-making seminar while I was thinking of having a small koi pond in our garden.
Grote Woerdlaan 38
2671 CL Naaldwijk