Today is the day we would say goodbye to Tokyo and head south to Shin-Osaka. Before moving on we had planned to spend the morning visiting the third garden on our list in Tokyo the Hama-Rikyu Gardens. We had been recommended to visit this garden by our Japanese friend and tutor. First, we had to pack and checkout of our hotel. We asked to leave our cases in reception till later in the day which they agreed. This is a saving in time and money as normally you have to go to the station and place your cases in the lockers, for around 1000¥ or £6 for the day. While we were in the station we popped into the Shinkansen (bullet train) ticket office to reserve our seats for the midafternoon train.
Before heading off to our destination garden we had a quick breakfast and coffee to fuel up! This time the garden was in walking distance approximately 25 mins at a fast pace. This garden is in a very nice part of Tokyo taking in the Ginza, district which is Tokyo’s premier upmarket shopping district. At the end of the Main Street and shopping area was the entrance to the garden. The entrance fee was only 300¥ with a steady stream of visitors mainly local Japanese.
This garden was a really nice traditional themed garden with lots of styled and maintained Niwaki trees surrounding the lakes. It’s a Tokyo metropolitan garden, designed as a cultural heritage for Tokyo combining history, culture and nature that has continued on from the Edo, Meiji and Taisho eras. The garden itself runs along a large tidal river with one unusual aspect that it has a seawater pond. The pond has a style to draw in seawater and change its appearance by ebb and flow of the tide. The pond is the only remining seawater pond from the Edo era within Tokyo. It has lock gates that open and close with the rise and fall of the water level in Tokyo bay. Saltwater fish such as striped mullet, young sea bass, goby, eel and crabs live in the pond.
The garden was originally the Tokugawa Shogun family garden and functioned as an outer fort for the Edo period. In 1654, the fourth shogun younger brother, built his detached house called Kofu Hama-yashiki, which means ‘Kofu beach mansion’ on land reclaimed from the sea. Later, when the 6th shogun house became part of the family residence, and it then came to be known as Hama-goten or beach palace. Thereafter, the creation of the several gardens and improvement to the grounds were carried out by the following shoguns and completed as it’s almost seen today by the 11th shogun.
After the Meiji Restoration the garden became a detached palace of the Imperial family, changing it’s name to Hama-Rikyu. The Imperial family donated the garden to Tokyo City in 1945 and after restoration work opened to the public in 1946 as Hama-Rikyu Gardens.
The garden is very well maintained, it was interesting to watch the gardeners as they were preparing some of the delicate black pines to protect them from the snow. After taking another few hundred pictures! It was time to move on and go and collect our cases, as we walked back, we noticed they had closed the road that runs through the main shopping street in the upmarket Ginza which was strange to see people standing in the middle of the road taking pictures, so you can guess what we did! After collecting our cases we had enough time to treat ourselves to a coffee and posh sandwiches before heading to the train station to catch the Shinkansen bullet train.
On arrival we know Shin-Osaka well so navigating through the station then to our hotel was fairly easy. Checking in and a quick freshen up we headed back out as it was dark now and time for a bite to eat. We headed for a nice restaurant which we have been before and on tonight’s menu, was Japanese curry and pork cutlets ‘oishi desu’.
This day we walked just over 7 miles.
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