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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

小石川後楽園

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, a short walk from Tokyo Dome, dates from the early Edo Period.

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

The garden was begun in 1629 by Yorifusa Mito, the first feudal lord of the Mito Tokugawa family and eleventh son of patriarch Ieyasu Tokugawa. Korakuen was completed by Mitsukuni Mito, Yorifusa's son.

The garden is heavily influenced by Chinese garden design. The name - Korakuen - comes from a Chinese text and can translate as "garden for enjoying power later". The central lake was designed by shogun Iemitsu Tokugawa and contains an island with a shrine to Benten, one of the Seven Deities of Good Luck.

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

The landscaped, strolling garden covers around 7 hectares and includes a Chinese-style stone bridge (Engetsukyo), a waterfall, an iris pond and in season flowering plum and cherry blossoms. The Naitei, or inner garden, was a former inner sanctum for the Mito Tokugawa family and contained a guesthouse separated from the rest of the garden by a Chinese-style gate. The huge garden and its incorporation of Chinese styles served as a powerful symbol of the power and wealth of the Tokugawa elite.

Daidogei at Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens

Korakuen garden is perfect for reading, relaxing and staying cool in summer. When I visited a pair of performers were juggling various objects using Japanese paper umbrellas.


Access

Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 112-0004
Tel: 03 3811 3015
Hours: 9am-5pm
Admission: 300 yen
tokyo-park.or.jp

The nearest subway stations are Iidabashi Station on the Oedo Line (2 minutes), Iidabashi Station on the Tozai, Yurakucho and Namboku Lines (8 minutes) or alternatively JR Iidabashi Station (8 minutes). Korakuen Garden is a similar distance from Korakuen Station on the Namboku and Marunouchi Subway Lines, just across from Tokyo Dome.

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