Parks and Gardens

Nezu Museum and garden in Minami Aoyama

Nezu Museum sits on 20,000 sq.m. of sprawling site in Minami Aoyama and is home to Nezu Kaichiro’s collection of premodern Japanese and East Asian art. Nezu Kaichiro known as Railway King whose career included being president of the Tōbu Railway started his collection with tea ceremony artifacts and expanded into paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, lacquerware and archeological treasures. This private museum is the perfect kick-off for the walking tour of Minami Aoyama, neighborhood of star architect retail shops, Italian furniture showrooms and cafes of all shape and form.  Indeed the site is across the road from Miele showroom and doors down from B&BContinue reading “Nezu Museum and garden in Minami Aoyama”

Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) in summer

Take a sharp right as you enter the turnstiles of Shinjuku Gate of Shinjuku Gyoen and follow the big loop along the western end of the park, you arrive at the traditional Japanese koi pond (Kami No Ike, Upper Pond). This western most located pond is one of the most picturesque in the park complete with arched stone foot bridge and rolling Japanese pines through years of deliberate stunting. Perched on the northern end to one side of pond is a shaded pavilion with the vantage point to pause and take in the idyllic scenery. Tokyo heat and humidity in theContinue reading “Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) in summer”

Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) in winter

Of all the parks and gardens in Tokyo, Shinjuku Gyoen evokes to me the most Central Park in Manhattan.  It’s not the size (it is less than one fifth of Central Park) but rather how the park is completely encased by the maddest section of the city yet feels peacefully detached from it.  Minutes after you enter either through the Shinjuku or Okido gate, the wide and flat plane is laid out and you are instantly in a different world.  Yet the juxtaposition of skyscrapers in the background, particularly that monstrosity NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building, is a reminder that the hustle and bustle isContinue reading “Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑) in winter”

Hamarikyu Gardens (浜離宮庭園) of Shinbashi

There’s the vast gardens of Imperial Palace and bustle of joggers and dance groups in Meji Jingu/Yoyogi Park but Hamarikyu Gardens hold its own with its classic Japanese aesthetics and tranquility. Even on the most pleasant public holidays, Hamarikyu is sparsely populated and devoid of tourists.  The garden’s placement at the foot of Shinbashi monoliths of sky scrapers  (a special shout out to the noticeably ugly Dentsu building) and on the shores of Tokyo bay give it a uniquely contrasting back and fore-drop and quietly dramatic atmosphere. Manicures gardens accentuated by stunted growth of pine trees ooze Edo period styleContinue reading “Hamarikyu Gardens (浜離宮庭園) of Shinbashi”

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