Gardens of Tokyo
In the Kamakura period (1185-1330) the village of Edo was established. The city developed rapidly and in the mid eighteenth century the village had a population of more than 1 million. On 17 july 1868 emperor Meiji renamed Edo to Tokyo citing the city’s importance for the economy of eastern Japan.
Koishikawa Korakuen garden
The Koishikawa Korakuen was first laid out in 1629 by Tokugawa Yorifusa but it's construction was completed by his successor Mitsukuni, an enlightened lord of the Tokugawa family of Mito, with the assistence of Zhu Shun Shui (1600-1682) a refugee scholar from the Ming Dynasty of China, who came under the lord's protection.
Originally, the area of the garden was 63 acres, but it was reduced to one-fourth owing to a city-planning of Tokyo, and the remaining area was placed under the control of the former Army Arsenal after the Meiji Restoration. It was designated by the Cultural Property Protection Committee as an important special place of scenic and historic interest and was tunred over to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government for management in 1936. Korakuen is the oldest of all the gardens in Tokyo and it is a typical stroll-garden built in early days of the Tokugawa Era.
In the central part of Korakuen there is a placid lakelet with winding walks running around, stone lanterns, trees and arched bridges arranged skillfully in harmony with their surroundings. Miniature views imitating noted Japanese and Chinese scenic spots such as Xihu and Lushan in China are presented, which please the eyes of the visitor.
Rikugien garden dates from 1702 and is in my opinion the best garden of Tokyo to visit. It’s a pond garden with a large pond and several islands and a hill from which you have a nice view on the garden. The original grounds where flat, for this garden the ponds a hill are created to imitate famous spots of scenic beauty in Japan.
The garden is extremely well maintained and my visit the gardeners where clipping the trees, it was nice to see how much was taken in conducting this work. There was also a wedding couple in traditional custom of which photos where taken.
The Kiyosumi garden
In 1721, the mansion of Kuze Yamatonokami, one of the feudal lords, was built here and later Baron Iwasaki, one of the plutocrats of the day, was pleased with its charming scenery, purchased the estate. He renovated the garden by digging a pond and filling it with water drawn from the River Sumida, and adding some fancy rocks collected from all parts of the country.
Unfortunately, the greater part of his villa was reduced to ashes during the great earth quake-fire of 1923, and Baron Iwasaki donated the remaining part to the Tokyo municipality. This garden provides excellent material for students of Japanese landscape gardening for its features, shapely rocks used abundantly and skilfully.