Friday, 11 April 2008

Day 2 Part 3 - Hamarikyu Garden (浜離宮恩賜庭園)

The Hamarikyu Gardens (浜離宮恩賜庭園) used to belong to a daimyo (feudal lord) during the Edo period and used for wild duck hunting and falconry. It is unique in that it contains a tidal (seawater) pool and is surrounded by a moat. In the 19th century, the first western style stone building in Japan was built there and used as a guesthouse for foreign visitors - the Enryokan (延遼館).

Today, it is a public park, regarded as one of the most scenic in Tokyo. However, it is bordered by the modern skyscrapers of Shiodome which some regard as an eyesore, but I don't - I like the juxtaposition and contrast between the ancient feudal garden and the ultra-modern buildings around it.

A map of the gardens:

The following photo illustrates the juxtaposition perfectly - a traditional tea house on a lake (中島の御茶屋) surrounded by skyscrapers (from left to right: Tokyo Twin Parks, Hotel Villa Fontaine, Shiodome Sumitomo building, Conrad building, and the Dentsu building):

The Enryokan no longer exists - however pine trees have been planted on the site of the former building:

There's a huge 300 year old pine tree near the entrance:

A woman is juggling a ring using an umbrella next to this tree:

A Japanese couple in traditional dress walking across a field of rape blossoms (菜の花):

So? Did we see any cherry blossoms? Yes, we did!

There is also a small shrine in the gardens, called the Inou shrine (稲生神社):

The gardens seem to be home for several cats - we saw at least two:

No, the man is NOT drawing a picture of a couple taking photographs, even though it may seem so:

Some more cherry blossoms next to the inner moat:

The teahouse in the middle of the tidal pool (潮入の池) is accessible by a bridge (お伝い橋):

Inside the tea house:

View of the tidal pool from the tea house:

Wisteria trellis:

And finally, a bronze statue of Umashimade no Mikoto (the God of Mars) (可美真手命) - a gift to Emperor Meiji:

Map of area:

View Larger Map

Full album on Picasa:
[2008-04-11] Japan - Hamarikyu Garden


  1. Chris,
    Lovely high quality pictures. I travel to Tokyo in April and will stay at Shiodome. Searching the web led me to your Japan trip photos, and then to your other photos. You have a high volume of photos, all of which seem to be of high quality, which must be very difficult. For me, your Japan blog photos are the first ones that really give me a sense of where I will be headed. FYI, I am from Washington DC, and we have a historic swath of cherry blossom trees here gifted to DC by the Japanese ambassador I think, around 100 years ago. There is an annual cherry blossom festival each spring. So although it is a long trip you may want to visit Washington one day. It will be a good fit for your magic camera. Take care, and thanks again for the great photos....Gary.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Gary, and hope you have a good trip.