Friday, February 16, 2007

24. Garden Review: Rikugien (Bunkyo-ku)

Rikugien is now a garden, but in the early 1700's, it was the residence of the feudal lord, Yoshiyasu Yanagisawa, who was famous for his literary accomplishments. The name Rikugien was taken from the six principles of composing Japanese waka poetry, which was derived from an ancient Chinese book, "Mao Chin".

In 1867, after the Meiji Restoration, the gardens were used as a villa by the Iwasaki family, owners of the Mitsubishi Group. It was also used as a temporary residence of the prime minister before being donated to the city and opening as a public park in 1937.

It is not a very large park, but it is a beautiful one. Walking paths surround a pond with an inlet. It was a nice, quiet retreat, especially if you first explore the traditional shopping area of Sugamo.

Hours of Operation: 9:00 - 17:00

Admission: 300 yen, but elementary school children and under, and those over 65 are free.

Address: 6-16-3 Honkomagome, Bunkyo-ku

The garden is just outside Komagome Station on the Nanboku Line, and is a very short walk from Sugamo Station on the Yamanote Line.

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