Location: Rikugien Garden in Tokyo

Yesterday, I brought you pictures of a beautiful traditional Japanese garden found in the heart of Tokyo. Not too far from Korakuen, though, is another garden also worthy of a stroll.
 Rikugien is on the north side of Tokyo, a short walk from the Yamanote line. My coworker Amanda and I headed there one afternoon last summer just after a rain shower.
 The trees were still dripping from the precipitation that cooled down the harsh summer temperatures. However, the fresh rainfall coaxed the mosquitoes to come out of hiding. I was wearing shorts so I was attacked mercilessly while walking through the forest-like trails.
 Like Korakuen, the park has an inner and outer trail around a lake. The outer trail is more forested.
 We started with the forested trail.
 A small bamboo grove can be seen in one portion of the garden.
 The rain kept people away and we had most of the park to ourselves. The post-rain humidity made for a somewhat hazy walk under the canopy.

 Every once in a while we had a view of the sky and we could watch the clouds quickly clearing.
 Is that sunlight and shadows I see?
 The lake here also includes a few small ponds.
 Along the right side of the property (after entering) there are a couple different paths to choose. We explored these random paths whenever we could.
 We found a bridge over the water!
 Another view of the bridge and the skies have cleared up quickly.
 The smaller trails are very small.
 The impression here is walking through a wild forest, instead of a landscaped garden with artificial structures.
 Following that small trail to the top of a hill gives a great view of the rest of the park.
 The landscaping looks very natural here.
 Mushrooms grow on the side of a tree.

 A small field that used to be the location of a building.

 Stairs! Let's see where they go.
 At the back of the park, we took a quick rest. Amanda was wearing pants and thus was pretty well protected from the mosquitoes, but I couldn't stop for long in any one place because I was exposed. For some reason the pests were less troublesome around the small building next to this pond.
 While the pond is artificial, it is designed to look natural. A small stepping stone bridge across the pond gets you from one side to the other.
 An interesting rock formation sits off to the side.
 The building is more of a shelter than anything else. It has two of these special windows, but they don't give a great view.
 Looking back across the adjacent lake you can see Tokyo peeking over the trees.
 Continuing on, we found another building. It seems the left side of the park is more built up.
 Tree over water = another photo.

 We found another stone path to follow.
 To see it all on this trip, we walked up and down the right side of the park first, seeing the more rugged, woodsy landscaping.
 But walking toward the entrance, we were along the lake in the open. The sunlight scared away the biting bugs and we could enjoy some of the views longer.
 We saw another island in the middle of the lake.
 The sun made things hot again away from the trees. Amanda didn't care much for the humid heat.
 But she loved taking pictures of the fish and turtles.
 I tried to get her to pose or something but she wasn't having any of that. But I got a nice shot anyway.
 More stairs?
 They lead back up the hill to another plateau.
 If I had only brought my camera with the wide-angle lens...
 We're back near the entrance, and we found this stone lantern.
 The lake is absolutely beautiful.
 A moss-covered bridge leads to the island, but it's off-limits.
 A historical building is near the bridge in a picnic area. It looks more like a storage warehouse than anything else, except for the door.
 Finally, we're off to see the other half of the park! By now, Amanda was losing interest because of the heat. And to be honest, this side of the park is a little less interesting.
 We were just on that side of the park...

 The clouds were perfect by now.
 The island has a small dock on the back side.
 There is a tea house along the outer path here.
 But it was closed.
 A secret moss-covered path! Where does it go? Nobody knows.
 Another lantern. This one smiles at you from under its hat.
 This mossy ground cover is so soft, I wanted to just lay down on it and take a nap. But it was wet and the mosquitoes weren't entirely gone. And I probably wasn't supposed to anyway.
One last look at the dock and the island.

Rikugien is best for those looking for a beautiful garden to stroll through. It's large enough to spend a long time relaxing, and if crowds aren't too heavy there are places to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch. It's very photogenic but more natural-feeling than the other landscaped gardens I've seen. It is supposed to reproduce 88 scenes from famous poems, and I'm sure they're all there. But they blend perfectly with the other parts of the park for those more interested in just seeing nature. Those with a limited amount of time in Tokyo will probably want to go to Korakuen instead.

To get to the park, take the Yamanote line or Namboku subway to Komagome Station. There are two entrances to the park, but the more-convenient entrance is open only for short periods in spring and fall. Walk south from the train station; the (closed) entrance should be visible very close to the station. Follow the park wall south (to the left) and make a right around the corner; the main gate is down a small side street. Be sure to use the maps located near the train/subway exits to get your bearings. We came in on the Yamanote line and had to follow a strange route to get to the park. The park is open from 9:00 to 5:00, with extended hours in spring and autumn. Admission is 300 yen.

No comments:

Post a Comment