Japan

Celebrate the iconic plants, art and culture of Japan at our autumn festival.

Japan festival

Dates

Saturday 2 to Sunday 31 October 2021

Time

All day

Location

Kew Gardens trail and Temperate House

Price

Included with entry to the Gardens*

*Members go free, no timed entry required

Come to Kew Gardens this autumn to explore the fascinating plants, art and culture of Japan.

From stunning artistic displays to a Momijigari Trail around the Gardens, our festival offers so much to celebrate.

Momijigari Trail

Momijigari is the tradition of visiting places that are brimming with red leaves in autumn.

Follow our Momijigari Trail across the Gardens and take in the spectacular seasonal displays of fiery foliage.

The trail will lead you to Japanese landmarks such as Chokushi-Mon, our Japanese Gateway, the Minka House and Ginkgo Grove.

Along the way, enjoy the wonderful displays in the Temperate House and visit the Marianne North Gallery to admire art of Japanese plants and landscapes.

Japanese Landscape and Gateway at Kew in autumn
Japanese Landscape and Gateway © RBG Kew

Temperate House displays

Our magnificent Victorian glasshouse will be home to a large-scale artistic installation, One Thousand Springs, by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota.

The artwork will be an intricate construction of 5,000 haikus suspended in a web of red threads in the centre of the Temperate House.

Admire the beautiful Chalk Garden created by award-winning UK-based landscape designers Otis Landscape Associates and kodai and associates, Japanese architects based in Switzerland.

The elegant garden mixes chalky English limestone and Japanese planting with frondy bamboos, vivid green mosses and striking Japanese maples. It's the perfect place to pause and contemplate.

Six varieties of Japan’s national flower, the chrysanthemum, will also be on display with yellow, orange and white blooms. Kiku Matsuri (chrysanthemum festivals) feature across the country in autumn.

Artistic installation by Chiharu Shiota called I hope...
© Chiharu Shiota, I hope... (2021) DACS, London, and the artist

Otis Landscape Associates and kodai and associates are grateful to The Pot Company for kindly supporting the Chalk Garden with one of their beautiful water features

Soundscape in the Temperate House

Listen to the mesmerising soundscape by Yosi Horikawa, a self-taught Japanese sound designer, in the Temperate House.

He creates his unique pieces by capturing natural sound in Japan, from rocks thrown into pools to wind rustling through trees.

Yosi Horikawa, a Japanese sound designer, recording sounds in the middle of a green forest
Yosi Horikawa, Japanese sound designer

Weekend wonders

ICHI

Times: 11am and 12pm, performances last 40 minutes

On weekend mornings in the Temperate House, busker ICHI, from Nagoya in Japan, takes the notion of a one-man band to new limits, combining his quirky handmade instrument inventions with steel-drum, ping-pong balls, typewriter, toys and everyday objects.

KASHUŪ

Times: 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm*, performances last 30 minutes

In the afternoon, KASHUŪ, the London-based Japanese calligrapher will perform giant calligraphy (shodō) art. The age-old tradition is a discipline of beauty and a search towards pure form and a peace within.

*There will not be a performance at 3.30pm on 31 October 2021

KASHUŪ, the London-based Japanese calligrapher performing giant calligraphy
KASHUŪ, the London-based Japanese calligrapher

Supported by Daikin UK

Daikin UK logo
Japanese Gateway and Landscape © RBG Kew/Andrew McRobb

Walk Japan at Kew

Join a free guided tour exploring the iconic plants, art and culture of Japan.

Fun family activities

  • Close up of the autumnal leaves of red maple (Acer rubrum)

    Family learning card

    Collect an autumn colour family learning card at the gates or print one at home and explore our amazing autumnal display of colour in the Gardens.

  • Family explainer in the Temperate House

    Family Explainers

    Learn fascinating facts about our Minka House and Kew’s links with Japan from our volunteer Family Explainers

    Location: Minka House and Japanese Landscape, Kew Gardens

    Dates: Weekends and some weekdays, Saturday 2 to Sunday 31 October 2021

    Time: 10.30am to 4.30pm

Further reading about Japan