Yugen – A Japanese Garden Where You Least Expect It


THE ADDRESS OF YŪGEN is a closely guarded secret. I didn’t even know of its existence in the backwoods of East Hampton, N.Y., until it appeared in the 2017 catalogue of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program, open for just two hours on a Sunday morning at the end of July.

Yūgen is a privately owned garden of 20 acres, heavily inspired by Far Eastern garden tradition. The property’s anonymous owner, who manages global public health crises, has been working on it for a quarter century. He began as a collector of Japanese suiseki –– small, naturally-formed stones that suggest larger landscapes. This, according to the catalogue, led to more stones in the garden, many on a massive scale, and then to a passion for horticulture.

With advance reservations, my sister and I gained two of the limited places and found ourselves wandering nearly alone through expanses of mossy-banked pine woods, an artificial dune scape, a re-created section of primeval forest whimsically called Jurassic Park, rocks and rills and waterfalls, gravel patches and sculpture gardens (all surrounding a rather more conventional house).

The word yūgen means something like “subtle, profound, mysterious beauty.” It suits.


About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
This entry was posted in GARDENS & GARDENING, HAMPTONS, LANDSCAPING, LONG ISLAND and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Yugen – A Japanese Garden Where You Least Expect It

  1. coppermaven says:

    So envious! Looks like a very special garden!

  2. Stacie Sinder says:

    Loved going there and going back there through your blogpost and beautiful photos!

  3. Susan DeMirjian says:

    Your photographs are beautiful. Do you know if they are open on any other day during the year, or is the end-of-July date the only opportunity to visit?

  4. cara says:

    hi Susan, the only way I can think of to find out would be to call the Garden Conservancy at 845/424-6500 and ask. Their email is
    info@gardenconservancy.org. If you’re not familiar with the organization, they have a full program of Open Days garden visits nationwide and they’re always worthwhile (though Yugen is extraordinary!)

Got something to say? Please say it!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s