ADELAIDE (Australia) – HIMEJI (Japan)
The City of Adelaide is a local government area in the metropolitan area of Adelaide, the capital city of South Australia. The city “square mile” is bordered by North, East, South and West Terraces, with Parklands bordering the Terraces.
The Adelaide Himeji Garden on South Terrace in the south parklands was a gift from Himeji in 1982. Following two visits by Japanese landscape designer, Yoshitaka Kumada in the late 1980s, its layout was improved to adhere to traditional principles. Inspired by the grounds of Himeji’s 17th century Castle, these gardens celebrate the sister city relationship between Adelaide and her Japanese counterpart. A work in progress since 1982 the garden features two main styles; a mountain lake garden and a traditional “dry garden” of raked sand and stones which represents the oceans while groups of rocks are seen as islands. Himeji’s castle garden is huge and has teahouses, broad waterfalls and ponds. There are exquisite trained plantings. The Adelaide version is modest by comparison, but Himeji has had 500 years start. Entry to the Adelaide garden is through a temple-like roofed gate and sitting low beneath a bamboo screen and stone lantern is a “chozubachi” (water bowl) used for washing. By kneeling to use the bowl the visitor adopts a humble attitude, appropriate for the appreciation of the grandeur of nature. To the left is a beautiful granite Okunion lantern which was presented to Adelaide by the ancient city of Himeji upon the coming together as sister cities. The Japanese inscription on the lantern reads: “FOR THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE TWO CITIES”. There is a milestone inscribed in Japanese with the name “Himeji” and it shows the distance of 8,050 km from Adelaide. Himeji is located 650km west of Tokyo.
ABOUT HIMEJI – With half a million inhabitants, Himeji is the second largest city of Hyogo Prefecture after Kobe. It can be reached in less than one hour from Osaka or Kyoto. Himeji is most famous for its magnificent castle, Himeji Castle, widely considered to be Japan’s most beautiful surviving feudal castle. It is designated both as a national treasure and a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Adelaide Himeji Garden feels cut off from the outside world that surrounds it – a tranquil escape from busy city life.
Spring has arrived in Adelaide and Spring has arrived in the garden.
“The Sister City relationship with Himeji has been established for the purposes of deepening mutual understanding, friendship and goodwill through programs of educational, cultural, social and economic exchange.”