Wednesday, March 19, 2008

52. Garden Review: Koishikawa Korakuen (Bunkyo-ku)

Koishikawa Korakuen is one of Tokyo's oldest and most beautiful Japanese landscape gardens. The Tokugawa daimyo (feudal lord) Yorifusa Mito began construction of the park in 1629. It was completed by his successor, the famous Mitsukuni Mito, as part of his daimyo yashiki (feudal lord residence). Mitsukuni Mito was interested in Chinese teachings, so he named the garden 'Korakuen'. Koraku means 'enjoying afterwards', from a Chinese proverb stating 'a governor should worry before his people and enjoy after his people'. The landscape design incorporates a mix of Chinese and Japanese influences.When built, the residence helped guard the approach to Edo Castle from the north. It also protected the Kanda Aqueduct, Edo's main water source. There was an arsenal at this location from 1867, and it was eventually turned into a public park and national historic site in 1952.
This photo shows an area of the garden where rice was planted, raised, and harvested by Mitsukuni Mito's son. Mitsukuni thought it was important for his son to know how difficult it was to grow the precious crop.

I recommend doing some research on Mitsukuni Mito before visiting this garden. Many TV series have been created about this incredible man, the most famous is the fictionalized 'Mito Komon'.

Admission: 300 yen
Open everyday, except during the New Year's holidays
Hours of Operation: 9:00 - 17:00

Address: Koraku 1-6-6, Bunkyo-ku
A short walk from Iidabashi or Korakuen Stations. It is right behind the Tokyo Dome.
Phone: 03-3811-3015

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