Top 10 Gardens in Anime [Best Recommendations]

Gardens are stunning spectacles set aside for anyone that admires nature and enjoys the art of cultivating flora. A carefully planned area, either indoors or outside, is displayed for citizens of all ages to view over the course of many years. Whether a garden is created from natural specimens or man-made materials, the results show a marvelous presentation. Gardens in anime are incredibly breathtaking because the artists and studios behind the scenes put forth a lot of detail into showing viewers the land, sharing what this special area would be like IRL. With that being said, we give you our top 10 anime gardens! Enjoy!

10. Kaze no You ni

  • Aired: July 9, 2016

Kaze no You ni takes place in the countryside of Japan, focusing on the life of Sanpei. Sanpei is a beekeeper and the only survivor of a tragedy that killed his entire family. In his travels, Sanpei meets a girl named Chiyo after a bee stings her. Settling in her village, Sanpei finds an abandoned plot of land and begins to cultivate it for some time before disappearing. As seasons pass and this plot of land flourishes, Chiyo waits for Sanpai, hoping that one day, he will return to the village.

An adaptation of a manga published in 1969, this 2016 film shares a heart-warming slice of life story. Despite suffering a terrible loss, Sanpei is able to find cause and reason to bring happiness into his life and others. Using the abandoned land, he is able to share something beautiful that can be enjoyed by all. The area is a blanket of poppy fields and other pretty and dainty flowers. Walking through it feels as soft as silk and the air is ever very fragrant. Even though Sanpei was gone for a while, the village people, in particular Chiyo, have a piece of him to remember him by.


9. Hinata no Aoshigure

  • Aired: November 9, 2013

Hinata no Aoshigure is an adventurous tale of romance and fantasy. It centers on a young, shy, and timid boy named Hinata who mainly keeps to himself and his drawings. Hinata is captivated by one of his classmates, Shigure, a kind and popular girl. Unfortunately, Hinata discovers that his family is moving to another town. In an effort not to pass on the opportunity, Hinata decides it’s time to confess to Shigure. Chasing love, he makes his way to her, letting her know what’s in his heart before it’s too late.

A beautiful and cheerful story, Hinata no Aoshigure is a short animation that is suitable for all ages. As a nature lover, Hinata’s art encompasses marvelous surroundings combined with his young, imaginative spirit. In his garden sanctuary, he creates many wonderful works that display bright and vibrant colors. The greenhouse is covered in vines, moss, and brushwood, but it does not cover the natural light needed to draw. A myriad of flowers also bloom in the area with more surfacing as the two spend time together. This film is a definite must-see for anyone who likes a great story and dazzling animation.


8. Anime Himitsu no Hanazono (The Secret Garden)

  • Episodes: 39
  • Air Date: April 1991 – March 1992

At a young age, Mary Lennox suffered a great loss when her parents perished from disease. Returning to England, Mary falls under the care of her uncle, a quiet man who keeps to himself, leaving Mary alone to entertain on her own. Although an aggressive and spoiled child, she is grateful for having someone to care for her in a grand home and have a few friends to play with. Often times, Mary is sad when she is alone, constantly reminded of her unfortunate loss. One day, as she wanders around the mansion grounds, Mary discovers a secret garden, unveiling more mystery and excitement. From this event, Mary, along with her cousin Collin, and friends Dicon and Martha, are in for an unforgettable experience.

The Secret Garden gradually shows Mary adjusting to her new life. Learning in new surroundings can be tough, especially for someone as young as she, whose circumstance came so abruptly. Surrounding her home is an extravagant landscape, leading the way to the secret garden. The garden is overgrown, untidy, and wild due to abandonment, but within a short amount of time, there is life again. Happiness is also restored when Mary brings Collin out for walks or picnics in the fields. Being alone in a castle can often be depressing and dreary, but coming out to admire nature and for fresh air is always uplifting for both of them. As they flee from reality into a whole other “universe”, the children find solace when going to the garden; just the four of them and their animals.


7. Mai Mai Shinko to Sennen no Mahou (Mai-Mai Miracle)

  • Air Date: August 15, 2009

Mai Mai Shinko to Sennen no Mahou or Mai-Mai Miracle is about Shinko, a third grade student with a distinguishable cowlick she names “Mai Mai”. Shinko spends a lot of time running through the fields of her hometown and daydreaming of traveling into the past. Her daydreams detail the ancient capital, Suo no Kuni, during the Heian Period. A continuingly fascinating subject for many villagers, artifacts from this time are passed down and cherished. One day, a girl named Kiiko transfers into Shinko's class. Kiiko has some trouble adjusting to rural life, but Shinko helps ease her in without difficulty and the two become great friends. Moreover, the two girls become closer as they share the same fantasy and daydream of living thousands of years ago during the Heian Period.

An adventurous fantasy, Mai-Mai Miracle demonstrates the simple pleasures of everyday occurrences, dreams, and companionship. Curiosity and reverie are inescapable for Shinko and Kiiko, and it is endearing to see how these two become close like sisters. Furthermore, the animation is gorgeous, showing great appreciate to the countryside with distinction and beauty. On the edges of the rice fields lay tons of streams, water meadows, ponds, and channels. Tall rice stalks and bamboo shoots tower over the girls, as well as the big trees and broad bushes. Beside the greenery, flowers bloom beautifully, offering an array of dazzling colors.


6. Kaze no Shoujo Emily

  • Episodes: 26
  • Aired: April 2007 – September 2007

Kaze no Shoujo Emily is based on the novel Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Emily Starr is an orphan who is raised by relatives after her father passes away from tuberculosis. Moving to the countryside, Emily meets and makes friends with many children, all with distinct personalities. In this series, we observe Emily transition to this new life, learning to adapt to her surroundings and friendships.

Kaze no Shoujo Emily is a heartwarming story, spotlighting the uncontainable spirit of youth. While watching each episode, viewers get to relive their childhood, where the sense of adventure and imagination runs wild. The explorer in us is also awakened. In regards to greenery, there’s plenty of it, as the farm Emily lives on is exceptionally large. The New Moon Farm on Prince Edward Island is pastoral, perfect for herding livestock and for other animals to graze. The landscape also includes rolling hills, woods, beaches, coves and red soil. The geography of the area has significantly benefitted its culture and economy.


5. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair)

  • Episodes: 12
  • Air Date: July 2015 – September 2015

Shirayuki aka “snow white” is a unique individual, in that her lovely red hair stands out in the crowd. After getting into some trouble, she was forced to flee her home, seeking refuge in the neighboring kingdom. Indebted to Prince Zen and his aides during her rescue attempt, Shirayuki devises a way to repay the three back for their help. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime follows Shirayuki’s journey residing in her new home, Clarines, in addition to Prince Zen’s duty as a royal. Shirayuki and Zen develop and support one another immensely, one of the thriving elements in this anime.

Snow White with the Red Hair is an outstanding drama, fantasy and romance anime. Shirayuki is an intelligent young woman with a knack for herbology. She demonstrates growth in her plant studies, as well as within herself, reminding us that gardens and plants offer great benefits besides looking pretty. As the castle is a grand place where Shirayuki spends a majority of her time, the groundskeepers of such a prestigious place must ensure that everything look primp and tidy, including the greenhouse. As a methodical approach is enlisted to ensure order and attractiveness, Shirayuki’s expanding knowledge of herbology is also very structured and organized.


4. Karigurashi no Arrietty (The Secret World of Arrietty)

  • Air Date: July 17, 2010

Karigurashi no Arrietty follows 14-year-old Arrietty and her family who are “borrowers”, taking items needed for their home and livelihood. Standing at four inches tall, their residence is placed in the small spaces of a human garden. Arrietty and her family live in the shadows, attempting to make their existence unknown to humans. However, this changes when they meet a young boy named Shou. After noticing certain items going missing, he discovers Arrietty, and the two strike an unusual friendship. A risky business, Arrietty and Shou’s friendship can become life-threatening if other malicious humans become aware of their existence.

Studio Ghibli films never disappoint! Arrietty shows the world from a different perspective. The world is a big, big place, so they say. A simple house garden can appear small for one person, but to another, seem vast and enormous. Lush and exquisite, the animation in this film pays close attention to detail. Walking on every stone through the garden path, we notice various species of leaves, flowers, and trees so tall and thick that they cover the bright sky. Alongside this scenery rests a lea, as well as unkempt wild weeds surrounding old structures. Nature is the number one component with each scene highlighting every leaf, flower, landscape and water drop to perfection.


3. Kotonoha no Niwa (The Garden of Words)

  • Air Date: May 31, 2013

Kotonoha no Niwa or The Garden of Words is a story following Takao Akizuki, a high school student who aspires to become a shoemaker. Takao meets a mysterious woman named Yukari Yukino while designing sketches in a beautiful garden. Takao offers to make her shoes and she is intrigued. As the two continue to meet in the garden during the rainy season, they form an intense and sweet relationship. Escaping their troubles of the outside world, when the rain subsides, will Takao and Yukari be able to weather what comes next?

Created by the same genius that made 5 Centimeters Per Second, The Garden of Words is another captivating and beautifully designed film. A visual treat that is so intricately produced, the garden where these two gather is a haven and hiding place for the troubles they endure in their everyday lives. Sitting outside of a busy city, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden boasts French, English, and Japanese landscapes. Housing various types of trees, the garden also includes traditional buildings for ceremonies, meadows and ponds. Also, the soundtrack to this film complements the scenery, suggesting to viewers a sense of tranquility. Here in this film, we see that natural connections can sometimes have no explanation. “Stuff happens!”


2. Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)

  • Air Date: April 16, 1988

My Neighbor Totoro is a staple anime film that everyone and their mother knows about, a Studio Ghibli classic! The story is about eleven-year-old Satsuki and her four-year-old sister, Mei. They recently moved into an old house in the countryside, so old that it looks like a creepy haunted house. Satsuki and Mei’s dad is a busy professor, but nonetheless makes time for his girls while their mother recovers from illness at the hospital close by. While the girls are exploring their new environment, Mei meets various spirits of nature, naming the biggest one of them all, Totoro! As the story progresses, Mei and Satsuki develop a close bond with the spirits, further depending on them when things take a turn for the worse.

My Neighbor Totoro displays such accurate scenery that it almost looks like a photograph of Japan’s countryside. The range of mountains resting beside the village is accompanied by a thick forest treeline, many rice fields, and dirt paths surrounded by an abundance of pastures. Nature and vegetation play a huge part in this film, as the girls heavily rely on its power and essence. As a common trait of Hayao Miyazaki films, an underlying message exists in this film: that citizens need to step out of the fast-paced arena of industrialization and step into the calm stillness of untouched earth.


1. Hotarubi no Mori e

  • Air Date: September 17, 2011

Hotarubi no Mori e follows the story of a young girl named Hotaru Takegawa. Hotaru gets lost in a forest and meets a masked spirit named Gin. Hotaru learns that she must not touch Gin or else he would disappear forever. Gin helps Hotaru find her way out of the forest. She thanks and promises him that she would visit every summer. Keeping that promise, she continues to see Gin for many years. With passing time, they become equal in age. Additionally, their feelings for one another have grown romantically. In these circumstances, how with the pair resolve their situation and will this conflict end their annual visits? Watch and see!

Hotarubi no Mori e is set in a beautiful forest shrine in the town of Takamori-machi, Kumamoto Prefecture. The extensive area has grown into a wilderness over time, with various plants blanketing the forest floor and tall trees towering over. A sacred place dedicated to certain supernatural figures, the various monuments and structures are engulfed in greenery. When Gin and Hotaru spend every moment exploring, time appears nonexistent, making each instance more memorable than the next. “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” Perhaps then, Gin and Hotaru will discover how to broaden their relationship.


Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed our choices for top 10 gardens in anime! If you haven’t already, make sure to check out all of these great titles! When we stop to admire a lovely garden, there are many wonderful things that come to mind, such as the creativity, time and effort put forth into cultivating the land. Gardens are unique and beautiful, providing a fulfilling calm and peace to whoever ventures into them. As such, let us know if we’ve missed any other great gardens in anime by commenting below! See ya!

Eva B.

Writer

Author: Eva B.

Hello! I’m Eva. I was born and raised in San Francisco, California. I’ve lived in Texas, Kentucky, and will soon be living in Japan! I’m a recent college grad with an MS in Justice Studies; a considerable feat in my life. When I’m taking a break from work/studies, I enjoy a variety of anime, passing a lot of time binging episodes alongside my husband. I also take pleasure in spending time with my two dogs and two cats, hiking, yoga, computer/video games, reading, and trying new cuisines. I’m pretty shy, so writing here has been a great outlet for me to come out of my box.

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