With spring unfolding and our hunger for green increasing, we city dwellers decided to visit another Tokyo garden. This time, we went to see the Koishikawa Korakuen.
The term landscape gardening acquires a whole new meaning in Japan. In this particular garden, Tokyo’s oldest Edo period garden (begun in 1629), several different Japanese and Chinese landscapes are reproduced in miniature. It is complete with hills, brooks and ponds, woods, a tiny rice paddy field and a perfectly wild looking rock landscape (made from “famous stones collected from all over Japan”). Yet, the high rise buildings surrounding the garden from all sides do not let you forget that you are in the middle of (an otherwise not very attractive part of) Tokyo.
Like many Japanese gardens, this perfect imitation of nature has something disturbing about it. Take for example an artificial hill with a sort of bamboo “lawn” cut to 30cm of length (see picture above).
The larger of the two official routes through the garden is about 1400m long. Accordingly, one should plan at least one hour for the visit to have enough time to leave the meandering round tour for the special vantage points, hop over the stones in the pond, smell the flowers and sit down on a bench next to the pond to contemplate and to watch the snowy Egret’s indignant face upon getting his feet stuck in the waterlilies.
Two bridges are among the highlights of the garden, the vermilion colored Tsutenkyo and the Engetsukyo (full mood bridge), whose stone arc, together with its reflection in the water, forms a perfect circle.
This garden is a beautiful green getaway from the bustling city and can be reached very conveniently by different train/subway lines (station Iidabashi). Since the trees and flowers are carefully chosen according to their flowering periods, the Koishikawa Korakuen offers beautiful bloom for all seasons.
The Koishikawa Korakuen
March 15, 2009 by sevenbrane