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|Japanese landscape gardening is distinctive in style from all others. In
its own particular type, it holds a unique position in artistry and beauty.
The gardens are of two main types: Tsukiyama (hilly gardens) and Hiraniwa
(flat gardens). First introduced from China, Japanese gardening aims at
providing a landscape composition just as an artist depicts a landscape
on a canvas a few feet square. To this end, rocks, shrubs, dwarf-trees,
sand, and running water are pressed into use. The traditional features
of the early gardens were an island set in a pool, and connected with the
mainland by small bridges or stepping stones with stone lanterns and rocks
placed in such manner as to give the whole the effect of a wide landscape.
Gardening was greatly influenced by Buddhism, and particularly by the Zen
Sect which also sponsored the Chanoyu (tea ceremony). A garden had to be
arranged in which the Chaseki (tea arbour) could be erected.
During the Tokugawa period, Edo (today's Tokyo) was noted for its famous gardens, but with the advent of the Meiji Restoration, many of them fell into neglect, or were destroyed. But many have survived and they have been converted into parks but still retain their ancient styles.
(quoted from JAPANALIA by Lewis Bush)
Denbou-in, Kiyosumi, Rikugien, Korakuen, Hama Rikyu, Shiba Rikyu, Shinjuku Gyoen, Imperial Palace East Garaden, Mukojima Hyakkaen, Tonogayato Gardens, Yasuda Garden and Sankei-en
Garden of Denbou-in (Denpou-in), Sensoji Temple in Asakusa
| Denbou-in (Denpou-in) is a place where priests of Sensoji Temple do Buddhist training. Denbou-in
was also used as the residence of Kansu, the top priest of Sensoji Temple.
The guest house and the entrance of the building was constructed in 1777.
When Shoguns and nobles visited Sensoji Temple, they would often rest in
Garden of Denbou-in, Sensoji Temple in Asakusa is believed was designed by Kobori Enshu, an eminent gardener in early 17th century. The area of this garden is approximately 10,000 square meters, and it is a circuit style garden. The scene you would see changes as you walk around in the garden. In the old days, this garden was open to nobles only, and ordinary citizens were not allowed to enter the garden.
The garden is not usually opened to the public. The garden has been exceptionally opening to the public in spring since 2012 to collect money for the victims of the earthquake in Tohoku in 2011. Also exhibited in the treasure house are many giant "ema" made during the Edo period and treasures of Sensoji Temple.
Open: March 10-May 8 in 2017 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) All days during the period
Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito-ku (located inside the compound of Sensoji Temple)
Admission: 300 yen
Access: Asakusa Station on Subway Ginza Line, Toei Asakusa Line, Tsukuba Express, Tobu Sky Tree Line
|Kiyosumi Teien (Garden) in Kiyosumi, Koto-ku is said it was originally
a part of the residence grounds of the famous Edo Period business magnate
Kinokuniya Bunzaemon. Later, it became the location of the Edo residence
of the Lord Kuze Yamato-no-kami of Sekiyado in Shimofusa (a part of present
day Chiba prefecture). In 1878, the founder of Mitsubishi zaibatsu Iwasaki
Yataro purchased the property and modified greatly and chose it as a garden
area for the enjoyment of his employees and entertainment of important
guests. The Iwasaki family donated the garden to Tokyo metropolitan government
after the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923.
Open: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed Dec. 29 through Jan. 1).
Admission: 150 yen
Address: 3-3-9 Kiyosumi, Koto-ku
Access: Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station on Subway Hanzomon Line and Toei O-edo Line.
URL: Kiyosumi Garden
|The most beautiful colored leaves viewing spot in Tokyo is Rikugien in
Komagome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo. The garden is a typical example of Japanese
gardens of Edo period built by the fifth shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi's trusted
confidante Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu as his villa in 1702.
In 1953 the garden was designated as a special site of exceptional beauty and an important cultural asset of Tokyo.
The best time to see the colored leaves will be toward the end of November and early December.
Address: 6-chome, Hon-Komagome, Bunkyo-ku
Access: Komagome Station on JR Yamanote Line 10 minutes walk.
Admission: 300 yen
Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and closed Dec. 29 through Jan. 1.
Telephone: 03-3941-2222 (Rikugien Service Center)
Light up of the giant drooping cherry tree
|Koishikawa Korakuen Garden was the Edo residence of Yorifusa Tokugawa -
the founder of the Mito Tokugawa family. The garden was completed by the
second clan ruler Mitsukuni Tokugawa (1628-1701). When Mitsukuni set about
constructing the garden, he incorporated some concepts of the Chinese Confucian
scholar Shushunsui of the Ming dynasty including a garden reproduction
of Seiko Lake of China, a "Full Moon Bridge" and others.
Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Closed: Year-end holidays Dec. 29 through Jan. 1)
Admission: 300 yen
Address: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku
Access: East Exit, Iidabashi Station on JR Chuo-Sobu Line/Iidabashi Station on Metropolitan Subway Oedo Line
URL: Koishikawa Korakuen
The typical Edo-period Japanese style garden Hamarikyu was owned by the
Tokugawa shogunate. In 1654, Matsudaira Tsunashige, the younger brother
of Ietsuna, the 4th Tokugawa Shogun, had part of the shallows filled in
and built a residence on the reclaimed land. After the Meiji Restoration,
the garden became the Hama Detached Palace for the imperial family and
now is a metropolitan garden.
The Edo Period pond was a tidal pond that depended on the intake of seawater from Edo Bay. It had two duck hunting sites within the grounds.
Access: Shimbashi Station on JR Yamanote Line
Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Closed: Year-end holidays Dec. 29 through Jan. 1) Admission: 300 yen Telephone: 03-3541-0200
URL: Hama Rikyu
|The Shiba Rikyu Garden is one of a pair of feudal era clan gardens surviving
in Edo (modern Tokyo). The other is Koishikawa Korakuen Garden. The Shiba
Detached Palace Garden is a classic, strolling, spring-fed pond-centered
garden featuring rock and land formations. The land on which the garden
is located was originally under the shallows of Edo Bay, but from 1655-1658,
this area was reclaimed and in 1678, came to be used for the official residence
of Okubo Tadatomo, an official of the ruling Tokugawa Shogunate. The residence
passed through the hands of several persons and finally, during the final
years of the Tokugawa Shogunate, it became the official residence of the
Kishu branch of the Tokugawa family. In the 4th year of the Meiji Period
(1871), it became the residence of the Prince Arisugawa-no-miya family.
It was purchased by the Imperial Household Agency in 1875 and became the
Shiba Detached Palace. In 1924, in commemoration of the marriage of the
Showa emperor, the property was given to the City of Tokyo.
Access: 1 minute from Hamamatsucho Station on JR Yamanote Line
URL: Shiba Rikyu
|Shinjuku Gyoen was constructed on the site of a private mansion belonging
to Lord Naito, a "daimyo" (feudal lord) of the Edo era (1600-1868).
Completed in 1906 as an imperial garden, it was re-designated as a national
garden after the Second World War and opened to the public.
With 58.3 ha. (144 acres) in size and a circumference of 3.5 k.m., it blends three distinct styles, French Formal Garden, English Landscape Garden and Japanese Traditional Garden, and is considered to be one of the most important gardens from the Meiji era.
(Quoted from the home page of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden)
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed: Mondays (Tuesdays when Monday is a national holiday) and Dec. 29 through Jan. 3.
Admission: 200 yen (adult), 50 yen (junior high and under)
Access: Shinjuku-Gyoenmae Station on Subway Marunouchi Line, Sendagaya Station on JR Sobu Line and Shinjuku 3-chome Station on Subway Marunouchi Line. (The garden has three gates - Shinjuku Gate, Okido Gate and Sendagaya Gate)
(Photos taken Nov. 26)
URL: Shinjuku Gyoen
Imperial Palace East Garden
|The Easst Gardens of the Imperial Palace were created as part of the renovation
project of the Imperial Palace grounds. The Gardens are located in the
eastern part of the Imperial Palace grounds and occupy main quarters of
the former Edo Castle. The gardens cover 21,000 square meters and have
been open to the public since October 1, 1968.
(Imperical Household Agency)
Open: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (March 1-April 14 and Sept. 1-End of Oct.)/ 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (April 15-End of Aug.)/ 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (Nov. 1-End of Feb.)
Closed: Mon and Fri and Dec. 23 also from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3.
Entry and Exit Gates: Ote-mon Gate, Hirakawa-mon Gate and Kitahanebashi-mon Gate
Telephones: 03-3213-1111 (Tue-Thu)/ 03-03-3213-2050 (Sat, Sun and National Holidays)
(All information quoted from the Imperial Household Agency pamphlet)
URL: Imperial Palace East Gardens
| Mukojima Hyakka-en Garden in Sumida-ku was built in the early 19th century
by a wealthy merchant of Edo, Sahara Kiku-u. Hyakka-en means A Hundred
Flowers Garden. The garden covers little more than 2 acres but is intensely
planted with trees, deciduous shrubs, flowering bushes and a tunnel of
bush clover. When the garden was first built, it featured 360 ume trees.
Visitors can enjoy various flowers throughout four seasons.
A person listening to "music" made by water trickling into a vase. "Tosenkyo" Fan tossing game will be not be held this year in 2015.
Access: Higashi-Mukojima on Tobu Isezaki Line from Asakusa. 15 minutes walk. Closed on Mon. Admission: 150 yen.
URL: Mukojima Hyakkaen
Haiku poem monuments by famous poets during the Edo period are found many in the garden
Listening to "music" made by water trickling into a vase.
Fan tossing game (Tosenkyo)
|The garden is a modern villa garden that was built taking advantage of
the terrace cliff on the southern edge of the Musashino plateau, as well
as the scenic beauty of the growth of miscellaneous trees.
Eguchi Teiji, former employee of the Mitsubishi who later ascended to vice president of the Southern Manchuria Railway, established a villa between 1913 and 1915 naming it as "Zuigien." In 1929, Iwasaki Hiroyata, president of Mitsubishi purchased this villa from the Eguchi family. In 1974, Tokyo Metropolitan Government purchased and upgrating opened as a Places of Scenic Beauty of the country as Tonogayato Gardens to the public.
Access: Kokubunji Station on JR Chuo Line
URL: Tonogayato Gardens
Former Yasuda Garden
|The Yasuda Garden is believed to have been built from 1688-1703 by a lord
of the Hitachi-Kasama domain, Honjyo Inabanokami Munesuke, younger brother
of Kensho-in, mother of the fifth Tokugawa Shogun Tsunayoshi. The garden
had a strolling style with the level of water drawn from the Sumida River
rising and has falling with the tides. This garden was remodeled in 1894
by Zenjiro Yasuda, founder of the Yasuda financial group. It was granted
to Tokyo City in 1922 by his will and has opened to the public since 1927.
Unfortunately this garden was destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake and
W.W. II. It was also ruined by pollution of the Sumida River. After the
garden was transferred from the Metropolis of Tokyo to Sumida Ward in 1969,
it underwent an overall renovation and newly opened to the public in 1971.
Since this garden successfully retains an appearance described in literature
of the Meiji period up to the present, it is one of the typical gardens
of this period comparable to nearby Kiyosumi Gardens. (Tokyo Metropolitan
Board of Education)
Date: Year-round (closed: from Dec. 29 through Jan. 1)
Access: Ryogoku Station on JR Chuo-Sobu Line
Map: Yasuda Garden
URL: Yasuda Gardens
The building behind is Kokugikan Sumo Stadium
Sankeien in Yokohama
Sankeien Garden in Yokohama is a traditional and typical Japanese-style
garden designed and landscaped by Sankei Hara (1868-1939) a wealthy businessman
in the silk trade. He reconstructed buildings of historic importance relocated
from places such as Kyoto and Kamakura in this garden and opened to the
public as "Sankeien" in 1906. In the garden of 1,750,000 square
meters, seven old buildings of high historic value are skillfully arranged
in harmony with the seasonal changes of the natural scenery. The Second
World War caused great damage, and in 1953 the property was transferred
from the Hara family to the care of the Sankeien Hoshokai Foundation. Restoration
works were carried out, and five years later, Sankeien had nearly recovered
its former appearance. (from Sankeien English pamphlet)
Address: 58-1 Sannotani, Honmoku, Naka-ku, Yokohama.
Access: Take any one of the municipal buses labeled Route 58,99 or 101From JR Negishi Station (Keihin Tohoku Line) at bus stop No. 1. Get off at Honmoku and 10 minutes walk.
Telephone: 045-621-0634/5; Admission: 500 yen; Open: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.: Closed Dec. 29,30 and 31