These giant koi, most are over a foot long, are the show stoppers for most of the visitors at the Hakone Gardens, named after the Fuji-Hakone National Park in Japan. It's pronounced: Ha-ko-nay.
View a wedding video filmed at this location by Savadelis Films. And a fun FYI, I made the bride's necklace. It's my best selling "Barely There" choker.
If you saw the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha" you have already seen the Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California. Many of the outdoor garden scenes were filmed there. Not only is was it a wonderful site for a movie, it's a favorite wedding venue for brides and grooms who want to be near nature as they say "I do."
We went this past weekend because my husband had never been there before. I couldn't believe it! So we planned a late morning outing before it got too hot. There is a small fee to enter but once you're there you can relax and sit on benches overlooking the koi pond or walk the many small trails leading around the property.
The pond isn't a circle or oval shape it curls around creating small coves and the appearance of tiny islands that offer homes to a variety of fauna.
There is an arched bridge that you can walk across while gazing down to see the swirling mass of koi goldfish. In the spring you can see polliwogs and later frogs darting to and fro. In the summer turtles sunbathe themselves on rocks and delicate damselflies land on the thin reeds along the shore.
I can hardly believe I got these photos with my iPhone!
There's a small gum ball machine just off shore that you can drop a coin into and purchase food pellets for the fish. As soon as they see people gather near that end of the pond they come and swarm along the shoreline looking for a treat.
But perhaps the best surprise of all that day was when I spotted this tiny bunny rabbit scampering alongside a foot path before disappearing into the underbrush. For a while he was completely hidden but with some time and patience I was able to take this photo of him when he slowly hopped out from the undergrowth to look for something to eat. I really had to lighten and over expose this photo so that you could see him. Beneath the canopy of trees it was actually quite dark.
The moon viewing house. I've always wished I could live here!
This wisteria arbor is laden with lavender blossoms in the spring. This day it caught a strangely eerie morning glow when I took this photo with my iPhone.
One last koi photo... If peacefulness and serenity are your thing and if you've never been to the Hakone Gardens I highly recommend taking a trip there. Weekdays are usually more quiet then weekends. Either way, even on a crowded day, if you wait long enough, you'll find peace, quiet and solitude there.
You can view more photos of Sylvia and James' Hakone Garden wedding by CLICKING HERE.