I must confess that I had no interest of traveling to Japan as much as my kids wanted to. However it is changed now after our family visit to Japanese Botanic Garden located in Baltalimanı village at Istanbul.
The moment we entered the garden I thought we were walking on a pinky cotton candy meadows. It was so magical that I found my dear daughter rolling over the ground and gigling as all the pinks of flowers were around her hair. So I just ran over and said "hey I mustn't miss this moment Ece please give me a big cheese".
Yes I met these wonderful trees of Sakura which had pink flower blossoms, gosh they are so gorgeous!
We started walking around and watch the beauty of nature. There were several different kind of trees that I never saw before, I believe they are all the botanic examples of Japan. Of course a small creek, a water fall, several stone made Japanese lanterns, a small Japan style bridge and a tea house decorated the garden.
Has anyone been to Shimonoseki city of Japan?
By 1972 Japanese and Turkish governments announced that Shimonoseki and Istanbul are brother cities because of the similarity of scenic view of the bridges. Believe me I even couldn't find which was the Bosphorus of Istanbul.
Ten years later then 1972, Japanese government announced that it was Turkey year and thus they built this Japanese Botanic Garden as a gift to Turkish people.
During our family visit to the garden I noticed that Sakura blossoms were falling down before they got dry as all the flowers do. So when we got back home I made a search and found out why the Sakuras are important to Japanese.
Japanese believe to Samurai living style, which is as you live death can come always to your way even if you are young. I guess this logic created their cultural living and coordinated their manner to nature and human life. Always kind, noble and wise.
Yes now I can go to Japan to see how their city life dimensions are and of course I am willing to see the most gorgeous Japanese botanic gardens as my kids want too.
However if you are staying or visiting Istanbul you can enjoy the Japanese Botanic Garden with family and find out how a Japanese cultural garden can be...
Here are local mom tips for families on sightseeing to Japanese GardenTake a picnic cover with you as this is a very clean garden where you can enjoy with kids.
If it is April in Istanbul, you must come to see these Sakura trees as children will love to play all over.
You can have a wonderful family portrait here, so take your tripod with you.
There is no children playground, so be sure to have something with you like a ball to play with them.
I know that in some parts of Istanbul, it is a nightmare to sightsee for families with strollers. However at Japanese Garden of Istanbul you can freely ride your stroller dear mums and dads…
Oooops..sorry there is no toilets in the garden :( as there is one, but the man in security said it is not usable. The most near toilet you can use is at the hospital cross the street. Yes, you can use it!!!!
How can I get to Japanese Garden in Baltalimanı?
Take the metro to İTU Ayazağa Metro Station.
Then take bus 22 E to Baltalimanı, look at the link please for more transportation details.
There are ferries to Emirgan village from Kabataş and Eminönü. Emirgan is 10 minutes of walk by Bosphorus to Japanese Garden.
Google maps: See the link please
Where to eat at Japanese Garden?
The most difficult part is where to eat when you are on the way with the kids. Here are some useful tips for you parents:
Get some fruits and some sandwiches too from a market. Take your water and other stuff with you too, because there is no cafes or restoraurants in the garden. Actually there is a restriction for picnics, however if you do not exaggerate the food stuff, no one will say anything. So have a small picnic fun day at the most eastern garden of Istanbul city.
Another suggestion of mine is, cross the street of Japanese Garden and find the hospital which is just located by Bosphorus. There is a buffet in front where you can have drinks and snacks. Also there is a self service restaurant in hospital's garden, where you can have "döner" for lunch.
The last suggestion is get back to Emirgan and find out the popular cafes beside the road with gorgeous view of Bosphorus and have a delicious time...(This choice is more expensive than above the two others of course)
If you still want to visit more botanic gardens you can walk to Emirgan Park which is like 20 minutes of walk from Japanese Garden with the kids of course.
I hope you found my article about Japanese Garden with children useful. If so, please feel free to share it so more people can reach the good qualified local mom tips for İstanbul travels.
See you sooon…