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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hama Rikyu Gardens

浜離宮恩賜庭園

Hama Rikyu Gardens, a short walk from Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Gardens, and located in the Shiodome area, is one of Tokyo's most popular open spaces.

Hama Rikyu Gardens

The garden is the site of a Tokugawa family villa dating from 1654 when Matsudaira Tsunashige reclaimed part of the shallows of Edo Bay and created the seawater pond fed from an inlet channel to the bay. The pond was used for duck hunting (with nets) at the time and is now a sanctuary within Tokyo for a number of wild species of birds and fish. The Tokugawa elite could access the garden by boat and remains of a landing stage is still visible at Shogun O-agariba not far from the present day water bus stop.

Hama Rikyu Gardens

The sixth Tokugawa Shogun Ienobu later renovated the gardens which were renamed "Hama Goden" (Beach Palace). The gardens reached their final form under the eleventh Shogun, Ienari. As with Kyu-Shiba Rikyu Gardens, the property passed to the Imperial Family after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, was badly damaged by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and in the Second World War and was finally taken over by Tokyo city and opened to the public in 1946.

There is a popular traditional tea house on Nakajima, a small island in the Shiori Lake, where visitors can enjoy green tea and Japanese sweets. Beer, snacks and soft drinks are also available from stalls near the lakeside Wisteria terrace.

Tea house, Hama Rikyu Gardens

Besides the saltwater pond, the only one still left in Tokyo, the garden is known for its Peony garden, a 300-year-old pine tree and for its blooms of rape flowers and cosmos.

Hama Rikyu Gardens
1-1 Hama-rikyu Teien
Chuo-ku, Tokyo
104-0046
Tel: 03 3541 0200
Admission 300 yen
Hours: 9am-5pm

The Nakanogomon-guchi entrance is a 5-minute walk from Shiodome Station on the Toei-Oedo and Yuri-kamome Lines.
The Otemon-guchi entrance is round 7 minutes on foot from both Shiodome and Tsukijishijo Stations on the Toei O-edo Subway Line.
12 minutes on foot from Shimbashi Station on the JR Yamanote Line, Tokyo Subway Ginza Line and the Toei Asakusa Line.
There is a Water Bus (Suijo) Stop inside the garden from Ryoguku. It is 35 minutes by boat from Asakusa and 5 minutes from Hinode Pier.

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