Japan 2009 Highlights: Koishikawa Kōrakuen

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Let’s go for a stroll through one of Tokyo’s finest traditional gardens.

(NB: To put things in the proper context, I took these pictures on Sunday, 29 March 2009 – right in the middle of hanami season. Enter the garden now and there won’t be a single cherry tree in bloom, although I’m sure it’s still worth visiting.)

Nestled within the urban sprawl of Bunkyō-ku (north of the Imperial Palace), the Koishikawa Kōrakuen dates from the 17th century and was once associated with the Daimyō of Mito’s Edo residence. It’s not exactly off the beaten track, but for tourists seeking to escape the company of their fellow gaijin this place really hits the spot.

On the other hand, there’s no escaping the hordes of happy Tokyoites who descend on the garden every time the cherry trees start breaking out into clouds of pink and white blossoms.

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Looking for a place to relax?

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Look someplace else.

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No worries – the garden is quite large and there are many quiet corners to which one might beat a hasty retreat.

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Right, that’s about all the commentary I can wring out of my work-stressed brain at the moment. I’ll let the pictures do the talking from here on.

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(Just one more piece of commentary – that is Tokyo Dome right next door. So close you can hear the crowds from the garden, although the cheering tends to be quite muffled so the atmosphere isn’t badly spoilt.)

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The Koishikawa Kōrakuen is within easy reach of Iidabashi Station on the Toei Ōedo Line. 300 yen gets you through the entrance. There’s a fair bit of walking involved, on different kinds of terrain – from flat, meandering paths to long flights of stairs – so wear comfortable shoes and pack a bottle of water or two.

8 Responses

  1. Absolutely amazing views! 🙂 It does look like a very nice place to relax 🙂

    The variety of places you visited really shows how well you prepared for the trip, carefully selecting the locations.

  2. Those sure are some nice pictures.

  3. @Kitsune: Yeah, it was definitely a highlight of my trip to Tokyo, and I’m itching to return in the autumn when the maple leaves change colour.

    I had only a few days in Tokyo and Kyoto so I was very careful to make the most of my time in either city. I purchased guidebooks months in advance and picked out good spots to visit in my free time, assembling an itinerary piecemeal. Certainly beats having a rigidly set course on a package holiday!

    @HyperKnuckles99: Thanks. Naturally, all the credit goes to those splendid cherry trees – I’m just the chap with the digicam.

    • I actually have a cherry tree right in front of my house, it’s a shame though that there in bloom for such a short time.

      • Lucky you. I’m not even sure if cherry trees can survive in my corner of the world – right in the middle of the tropics – but a cousin recently told me that there were cherry trees planted in her schoolyard, so who knows. I’m tempted to seek out cuttings and plant them all over my neighbourhood.

  4. If you do that then good luck then, and that would be pretty cool looking if you do.

  5. Pretty pretty sakura! You’re lucky to have been there right in time for the cherry blossoms. Would be awesome to see how the scenery would change for autumn ^^

    (oh btw, off-topic. The Filipino anime bloggers are gonna have a Christmas party of sorts, do join us if you’re free! gonna send the email thread about it 🙂 )

    • I’m already saving up for an autumn return to Japan – mid-November next year if I can afford it, or the year after that. I just hope work won’t get in the way.

      (Re the Pinoy blognic: I can’t commit to join in the Christmas festivities at this time, but please keep me in the email loop! I’d love to swing by and meet up with everyone if I can manage it. Some kind of video screening would be nice, too – I vote for Shinkai if that goes on the agenda. 😉 )

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