Location: Hama-Rikyu Detached Garden, Tokyo

 Let's visit a large garden a short walk from Ginza! It's right across this bridge.
 Hama-Rikyu is a landscape garden located next to Tsukiji and Shiodome, and is a very nice way to escape the city. Surrounded by an old moat, you can see an old stone wall as you enter the park through Otemon Gate.
 Unlike Japanese landscape gardens, Hama-Rikyu is a large garden designed for strolling. You'll find very wide paths and lots of grass.
 The skyscrapers of the city peak over the trees, but the size of the park means it is very quiet!
 Stroll around and you'll occasionally see flowers.
 I visited on a very nice Sunday, and the garden had several people inside, but the large size meant that I could feel like I had the place almost to myself.
 I'm not sure if it's allowed, but lots of trees provide shade where you could sit or lay down and read a book, or have a picnic.
 Or, you can enjoy big open fields with occasional trees. I like the shapes of the trees at Hama-Rikyu.
 Tree house foundation?
 An  old stone lantern looms in the distance.
 The garden feels very natural and the plants and trees go together well.
 Gardens are one of my favorite places to take close-up photography.

 It isn't hard to find space, but a certain area of the park is reserved for relaxing, with picnic tables. I believe sports activities aren't allowed, however.
 As you get deeper into the park, you'll find an old moat hiding among the trees.
 This shady path leads to some remains of the garden's former usage.
 Follow the stone steps up the small hill.
 And you come to some open water area.
 The pond was used for duck hunting. The reconstructed duck hunting blinds are hidden enough that most people might not even know they're there.
 You can walk around the pond and hide in the blinds.
 I was a little worried about insects hiding inside, but actually they were fairly safe.
 This is a view from another hunting blind. The skyscrapers of Shiodome are visible behind the trees.
 Continuing around the garden, there are cleaner waters to see.
 A large lake is cut into by a series of bridges.
 It's Mt. Fuji...mi. Head up the stairs for a nice view.
 You can see most of the garden from up here!
 The bridges are the traditional arched-style, though you won't cross any moon-shaped bridges.
 Another hill in the distance is a nice place to gather.
 A couple tea houses are found around the lake.
 The east side of the park, around the lake, is fairly open and empty, so you can focus on the beauty of the lake.
 I think this is the only statue in the entire garden.
 Nearby is an old traditional house which was closed. You can walk around some of it though.
 A more garden-like garden is near the house.
 A couple was taking wedding pictures here, seen to the right.
 Into the woods.
 Hama-Rikyu is quite large. I returned to the small hill near the lake just as the large group was leaving.
 Most gardens use lake shores with lots of bays and peninsulas to create mini scenes. You won't really find that here.
 Another tea house is located on the northeast side of the park.
 This field could be used for planting, I suppose. After seeing everything in the west and south sections of the park, the northern portion of the park felt kind of forgotten.
 I see these flowers fairly frequently here in Japan. They're really beautiful.
 There is one really cool thing on the north side of the park: 300-year old pine tree. It was planted in 1709.

Hama-Rikyu isn't a landscape garden designed to recreate famous nature scenes from around the world, but it is a beautiful, large garden that provides a quiet place to stroll and enjoy greenery. Tea can be had in the teahouse and snacks are available nearby as well. Plan to spend an hour at minimum for a stroll around the garden - you could easily spend two or three hours here if you have a seat and relax in the fields. Plus, you can watch the water taxis go by from the east side of the island.

The garden is about 10-15 minutes from Shinbashi Station (less from Shiodome Station), and admission is only 300 yen. It's open from 9-5. A free English audio tour is available at the entry gates, and while I haven't tried it I've heard it is very good.

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