Rikugien(六義園 )

One of the most beautiful gardens in Tokyo, the Rikugien offers a quiet resting and strolling place in the hectic Tokyo life. It is situated in the quiet neighborhood of Komagome and Sugamo (Bunkyo ward), which are also worth a visit.

The garden is a strolling garden of the Edo period (1603-1868). Samurai Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu built the garden with the permission of the shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi between 1695 and 1702. Originally, 88 famous views from Japanese and Chinese landscapes have been imitated in miniature form in this garden, however, only 32 remain today. The garden’s name translates literally Six Rules Garden and refers to the six basic rules of Waka poetry. Waka translates as “Japanese Poem”, and has its roots in the Heian period (794-1185).

Rikugi-en is one of Tokyo’s finest gardens and offers the visitor an ever-changing landscape. Although its square footage is considerable, the garden feels closed and intimate. We recommend enjoying the view over the garden while having a bowl of green matcha tea in the tea house.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Highlights
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Rikugien

17 pages full of information about the Rikugien Garden
39 pictures of the gardens

PDF 25MB

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Rikugi-en Video
Watch the Rikugi-en video

Directions

How to get there
The garden is hidden in the quiet neighborhood of Komagome and Sugamo in the north of central Tokyo, but can be reached conveniently by the Yamanote line or the Namboku line, Komagome station. The garden is south of the station.

Address
JP: 東京都文京区本駒込六丁目
EN: 6 Chome Honkomagome Bunkyō-ku, Tōkyō

Admission
300 Yen

Opening times
9:00am – 5:00pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Closed between December 29th and January 1st

Nanzen-ji(南禅寺)

Nanzen-ji is the name of a temple and the surrounding temple complex at the foot of Kyoto’s eastern mountains (Higashi-yama). It was built in the Heian period (794-1185) on the grounds of Tennō Kameyama’s detached palace. The emperor was in favor of Zen Buddhism and supported the relatively new religion, introducing it to the aristocratic circles. It is the head temple of the Nanzen-ji branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism.

Of special importance is the dry landscape garden (kare-sansui) in front of the Hōjō, the head priest’s quarters. The fusuma-e, the paintings on wooden sliding doors, are also impressive. They have been painted by painters of the famous Kanō school.

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Directions

The most beautiful way to get to Nanzen-ji is to walk the picturesque Philosopher’s path, which connects Nanzen-ji and Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion.

As for the subway, Keage Station on the Tozai line is a short 7-10 minute walk away. If you prefer to go by bus, take bus number 5 and get off at Nanzenji-Eikando-michi.

How to get there
Take city bus number 5 and get off the bus at the Nanzen-ji bus stop. Walk about 10 minutes in eastern direction.

Address
Nanzenji-Fukuchi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-city
京都市左京区南禅寺福地町

Telephone
075-771-0365

Opening hours
December-February: 8:40am – 4:30pm
March-November: 8:40am – 5pm

The temple is closed from December 28th to 31st.

Admission
500 Yen

Mibu-dera(壬生寺)

Mibu-dera was established in 991 by the monk Kaiken and is one of Kyoto’s oldest temples. Since Kyoto has see a lot of wars, fires and other catastrophes over the centuries, none of the original building has survived until today. There is a stone garden south of the Shoin, the study rooms of the temple. It was also damaged in a big fire on the site and had to be rebuilt in 1811.

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Directions

How to get there
Take city bus no. 28 from Kyoto station towards Daikaku-ji (大覚寺). Get off after 8 stops (around 15 minutes) at Mibu-dera-dori. From there head south and you will see the temple after 400 meters.

Opening times Museum
8:30am – 16:30pm
The garden is only open during special occassions.

Admission
200 Yen

Address
JP: 京都市中京区壬生椰ノ宮町31
EN:Kyoto-shi, Nakakyo-ku, Mibunaginomiya-cho 31

Kyū-Shiba-Rikyū Teien(旧芝離宮庭園)

The Kyū-Shibarikyū garden is a former imperial garden in southern Tokyo. It is a typical pond strolling garden (回遊式泉水庭園) from the Edo period. The land it is built on was reclaimed from the Tokyo bay in 1658. The premises were the residence of daimyō Ōkubo Tadatomo, a politician of the Edo shogunate. The layout is typical for Samurai-style architecture (Buke-zukuri – 武家造). The owners changed again and again over the time until after the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), it was purchased by the imperial household and became the Shiba Detached Imperial Villa.

While the gardens in north Tokyo (Rikugi-en and Koishikawa garden) have a secluded feel to it, Kyū-Shibarikyū feels open and airy. The surrounding high rise buildings, the landmarks of modern Tokyo are a striking contrast to the overall softness of this over 300 year old garden. The garden itself is magnificent – immaculately maintained, small enough to oversee from one of the vantage points, and large enough to discover new views and perspectives with every turn of the path. Jenny’s absolute favorite garden in Tokyo.

Contents:
Introduction
The Pond
Rocks in the garden
Fences in the garden
Paths in the garden
Plants in the garden
The garden in winter

13 pages packed with detailed information about this Daimyo garden
63 great pictures of the garden, its rocks, ponds and plants

14MB
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Directions

How to get there
The garden is conveniently located next to the Hamamatsu-chō station(浜松町) of the Yamanote line. Just walk 1 minute to the west and you will get to the entrance gates.
The subway station Daimon (大門) is 3 minutes away. Use the Oedo line and Asakusa line to get here.

Address
JP: 東京都港区海岸 1-4-1
EN: 1-4-1 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Admission
150 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 3rd.

Koishikawa Korakuen(小石川後楽園)

The Koishikawa garden, formally called Koishikawa-kōraku-en (小石川後楽園), is a small garden jewel in Tokyo. Well preserved from the Edo period (1603-1868), it is one of the oldest gardens in Tokyo. The daimyo and son of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Tokugawa Yorifusa started to build the garden in 1629, and his son Tokugawa Mitsukuni finished it in 1669 with the help of the Chinese scholar Shu Shunsui.

The garden features several scenes that represent famous Japanese and Chinese landscapes. As typical for strolling gardens, there is a pond in the middle of the garden, and a path that leads around it. The garden master designed the garden that the visitor sees a different scenery, a different view every few steps. The pond of the garden is fed by the water of the nearby Koishikawa river (Little stone river).

Especially the nearby Tokyo dome, the tower of the Bunkyo Civic Center with the sky view lounge, and the screams from the small amusement park’s roller coaster make clear that this garden is a sweet little oasis in the middle of Tokyo.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Lanterns
  • Waterfalls
  • Stones
  • Highlights
  • Flowers
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Koishikawa Korakuen

23 pages full of information about the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
56 pictures of the gardens

PDF 10MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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TESTIMONIAL
Since moving to Tokyo, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with many people who share my interests, particularly in the food and garden category. One of those new acquaintances is Anika, who is part of the team behind Real Japanese Gardens. After exchanging numerous emails and bonding over our mutual love of gardens (though her actual gardening knowledge far outstrips mine!), she kindly sent me a copy of one of their e-books, a guide to Koishikawa Korakuen. So early in September, with e-book in hand (or rather in iDevice), I trotted off to one of Tokyo’s most well-known metropolitan gardens to “road test” the guide.

Read more

Uncover

Japan

Directions

How to get there
To get to the Koishikawa gardens, you can either go directly to Koshikawa station (小石川駅) with the Marunouchi or Namboku line or take the Sobu line or Mita line to Suidobashi station (水道場所).
But the nearest Station is IIdabashi, which is served by the Sobu-Line, Tozai-Line, Namboku-Line, Yurakucho-Line and Oedo-Line.

Address
JP: 東京都文京区後楽1-6-6
EN: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Opening times
9am – 5pm (last entrance at 4:30)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 1st.

Admission
300 Yen

Katsura Rikyū(桂離宮)

The Katsura Rikyū or Katsura Imperial Palace (also known under the name Katsura Detached Palace), has been built for Prince Toshihito in the early Edo period. Since the prince was very well read, the gardens feature many references to the Japanese classic “Tale of the Genji”. The architecture and the gardens of the palace are remarkable. There used to be five tea houses in the garden, of which four remain until today. The tea houses and the Old, Middle and New Shoin (drawing room, study room) are exquisite examples of Japanese architecture.

The garden features a large variety of decorative features like stone lanterns, gates, hand washing basins and different styles of laid paths, stepping stone paths and Japanese garden fences.

This eBook features the famous Ishi-doro or stone lanterns of Katsura Rikyu.

Contents:
  • Introduction to stone lanterns (石燈籠)
  • Introduction to the Katsura Imperial Palace (桂離宮)
  • Stone lanterns along the garden paths:
  • Ball-shape lantern – Mari-gata Tōrō (毬形灯籠)
  • Stone lantern – Ishi-dōrō (石燈篭)
  • Water-firefly lantern –
  • Mizubotaru-dōrō (水蛍燈篭)
  • Christian lanterns – Kirishitan-dōrō (キリシタン燈籠)
  • Snow-viewing lantern – Yukimi-dōrō (雪見燈籠)
  • Triangle lantern – Sankaku-dōrō (三角燈籠)
  • Three-lights lantern – Sankō-dōrō (三光燈籠)
  • Buried stone lanterns – Ikekomi-dōrō (活け込み燈籠)
  • Oribe stone lanterns (織部燈籠)

8 pages with
25 pictures about the stone lanterns of the Katsura Rikyu garden.



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Directions

Katsura Rikyu is located in Kyoto’s west. The easiest way to get there is to take the Kyoto City bus 33 from Kyoto station and get off at the “Katsura Rikyu mae” bus stop. You can also take the Hankyu Kyoto train until Katsura station and walk from there in 15 minutes in eastern direction.

Address
JP: 〒615-8014 京都府京都市西京区桂御園
EN: Katsuramisono, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 615-8014

Admission
Reservation required at the Imperial Household Agency. Same-day reservations are ok. A contingent of tickets is available each day from 11 am on a first come first-served basis.
http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/guide/katsura.html

1000 Yen Admission fee. Only visitors above 12 years are allowed.

Kankyū-an(官休庵)

Sen no Rikyu is the most famous Japanese tea master and founder of the Japanese way of tea. After his grandson died, his heirs founded three different schools of the Japanese way of tea. One of these schools is Mushanokōjisenke.

Ichiō Sōshu, Sen no Rikyu’s great grandson, he set up his own tea house, called the Kankyū-an (官休庵), on Mushakōji street. It has a famous tea garden, which is closed to the public.

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Directions

How to get there
Take the Karasuma line from Kyoto station and get off at Imadegawa Station (今出川駅).
From there walk about 8 minutes in south western direction until you get to Nishi-Mushanokouji-cho.

Admission
Not open to the public

Hamarikyū Teien(浜離宮恩賜庭園)

The Hamarikyū garden is a large strolling garden directly next to Tokyo bay. It was built by the shogun Tokugawa in the Edo period (1603-1868). The garden’s ponds are connected to the Tokyo bay so the water level of the ponds changed with the tide. Large parts of the garden were reed fields, and the southern garden was used by the Shogun’s family for falconry and duck hunting.

With the Meiji Restauration in 1868, the Tokugawa shogunate fell and the imperial family built a detached villa on the grounds of the garden. This is also where the garden’s name comes from – Hama (浜) means “beach”, “seashore”; and rikyū (離宮) means “detached palace”. Teien (庭園) is a word for “garden” or “park”.

The garden has meandering ponds interconnected by little streams. There is a tea house on the middle island (中島 – Nakashima) of the southern pond, a plum grove (visit in late February to March), a 300-year-old pine tree and a field of wildflowers (cosmea and rape flowers). It is a nice garden to take a long walk. Because the garden is large, you rarely meet other visitors.

A free audio guide in English is available at the ticket gates – it has several guided tours, but it also allows you to roam around freely and just gives you information when you come to an important part of the garden.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Mountains
  • Highlights
  • Flowers
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Hamarikyū garden


20 pages full of information about the Hamarikyū garden
38 pictures of the gardens

PDF 27MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
To get to Hamarikyu gardens, take the Yamanote line to Shinbashi (新橋駅) or the Oedo line to Shiodome(汐留駅)。Walk eastwards from there.
There is also the possibility to go by boat from Asakusa to the garden. But since the boat is quite low, often you don’t see more than the quay walls. The entrance fee to the garden is included in the fare.

Address
東京都中央区浜離宮庭園1-1
1-1 Hamarikyu Teien, Chuo, Tokyo

Telephone
03-3541-0200 ‎

Admission
300 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 1st.

Fushin-an(不審庵)

Sen no Rikyu is the most famous Japanese tea master and founder of the Japanese way of tea. After his grandson died, his heirs founded three different schools of the Japanese way of tea. One of these schools is Omotesenke, meaning “Front-Sen-house”.

The Omotesenke estate is also known by the name of its representative tea room, the “Fushin-an” (不審庵). This is where Sen Rikyū’s son-in-law, Sen Shōan, reestablished the Kyoto Sen household after Rikyū’s death and where the knowledge of the Omotesenke way of tea has been passed until today.

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Directions

How to get there
Take the city bus number 9 to Horikawaji-no-uchi(18 stops, 27 minutes). From there, walk in eastern direction and turn left into the Ogawa-dori (小川通).