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.

Kyōto Gosho (Kyoto Imperial Palace)  (京都御所)

The Imperial Palace in Kyoto has been the seat of the Emperor from the Heian period (794-1185) until the end of the Edo period (1603-1868). After the Edo period, the Tenno and his court moved to the Old Edo, which then became the official capital of Japan and changed its name to Tokyo – Capital of the East.

The palace and garden are within the old palace enclosure but were built much later, during the Edo period (1855). The style is loosely based on the Heian shinden-zukuri style, with large gravel courtyards and a small pond garden.

Access to the garden is only granted free of charge. Tours are held in Japanese, Chinese, and English. English tours are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You can apply for them by visiting the Visitors Room on the right side of the entrance.

[Updated: 10/2018]

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eBook Coming Soon…

Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Karasuma line to Marutamachi station (丸太町, 4 stops, 7 minutes). From there, enter the Kyoto-gyoen and go to the entrance of the Sentō-Gosho in the center of the park.

If you prefer to go by bus, take the city bus 205 and get off at the bus stop Furitsu-idaibyouin-mae (府立医大病院). The bus stop is to the east of the Kyoto-gyoen, enter the park and walk in a westwards direction.

Address
JP: 〒602-0881 京都府京都市,上京区京都御苑
EN: Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 〒602-0881

Opening hours

September & March 9 a.m. – 3:50 p.m. (Last admission) 4:30 p.m. (Closing time)
October – February 9 a.m. – 3:20 p.m. (Last admission) 4 p.m. (Closing time)
April – August 9 a.m. – 4:20 p.m. (Last admission) 5 p.m. (Closing time)
Closed: Mondays (if Monday is a holiday, the palace will close on Tuesday instead.)
December 28 – January 4

Admission
Entrance is free.

Sentō Gosho (Sentō Imperial Palace)  (仙洞御所)

The Sentō Imperial Palace was built in 1630 as Emperor Go-Mizunoo’s retirement residence. Several fires have burnt down the buildings over the time, and the Sentō Imperial Palace was never reconstructed. The gardens stem from the year 1630, designed by the famous garden designer and tea master Kobori Enshu.

Since at that time in Japan all the military and political power was with the Shogunate, and not the Imperial Court, the nobility had time to study and appreciate traditional Japanese art forms like poetry, calligraphy and tea ceremony. So, emperor Gomizunoo was a highly educated man with refined taste and contributed considerably to the design of the villa and gardens.

The garden designer was Kobori Enshu (小堀 遠州), a tea master and artist. Together they designed the garden, which was originally divided by a wall into a North and a South section with two separate villas for the emperor and the empress.

The gardens are laid out around a large pond with several islands, six different bridges and paths that lead around it. There are also two tea houses in the garden.

Access to the garden is only granted to guided tours (free of charge). You can apply for a tour at the Imperial Household Agency Office in Kyoto (3 Kyoto-gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8611) or on their website: ttp://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english . Tours are held only in Japanese, but an English language audio guide is available.

This eBook is about the Ishi-doro, the Japanese stone lanterns in the garden.

Contents:

Introduction to Japanese stone lanterns
Brief history of the Sento Gosho gardens
Japanese stone lanterns along the garden paths:
Stone lantern – Ishi-dōrō (石燈篭)
Christian lanterns – Kirishitan-dōrō (キリシタン燈籠)
Snow-viewing lantern – Yukimi-dōrō (雪見燈籠)
Buried stone lanterns – Ikekomi-dōrō (活け込み燈籠)
Korean stone lanterns – Chōsen-dōrō (朝鮮燈籠)
Oribe stone lanterns (織部燈籠)

7 pages with
21 pictures about the stone lanterns of the Sentō Gosho garden.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Karasuma line to Marutamachi station (丸太町, 4 stops, 7 minutes). From there, enter the Kyoto-gyoen and go to the entrance of the Sentō-Gosho in the center of the park.

If you prefer to go by bus, take the city bus 205 and get off at the bus stop Furitsu-idaibyouin-mae (府立医大病院). The bus stop is to the east of the Kyoto-gyoen, enter the park and walk in a westwards direction.

Addess
JP: 〒602-0881 京都府京都市,上京区京都御苑
EN: Kyoto Gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi 〒602-0881

Admission
Entrance is free, but only granted to guided tours. See above for application.

Shūgaku-in Rikyū  (修学院離宮)

Shūgaku-in Rikyū is an exception among Kyoto’s imperial gardens. There is not only one garden on its grounds, but three separate gardens. The gardens are connected by gravel paths, which lead through vegetable patches and rice fields. It also never was the official residence of a member of the imperial family – Emperor Gomizuno-o (1596-1680) had built these gardens as a private retreat in the outskirts of Kyoto, on the foot of the Higashiyama, the eastern hills. Additionally, this garden may be the best example of the use of “borrowed landscape”- Shakkei (借景) in Japan.

The retired emperor Gomizuno-o (後水尾天皇) built the gardens between 1653 and 1655 with the financial support of the shogun. More than 600 years earlier, in the Heian period (794-1185), a temple called “Shūgaku-in” stood on this site. Without any actual political power, the emperor had lots of time on his hands to dedicate himself to the study of fine arts, poetry, architecture and design. It is therefore believed that most of the design was his own work. He has already participated in the design process of his official retirement residence Sentō Gosho in 1629, whose main designer was garden master Kobori Enshū. Enshū passed away in 1647, but his influence on emperor Gomizuno-o is still visible in the design of the Shūgaku-in Rikyū gardens.

There are three gardens: The lower garden, the middle garden and the upper garden.
All of them have their own characteristics, but most visitors agree that the upper garden is the most spectacular one – especially in autumn, when the trees of the surrounding mountains turn into a vibrant red, yellow and orange.

Access to the garden is only granted to guided tours (free of charge). You can apply for a tour at the Imperial Household Agency Office in Kyoto (3 Kyoto-gyoen, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8611) or on their website: http://sankan.kunaicho.go.jp/english/guide/shugakuin.html .
A contingent of tickets is available each day from 11 am on a first come first-served basis.

This is eBook is about the Japanese stone lanterns (Ishi-doro) of the Shūgaku-in Rikyū gardens.

Content
Shugaku-in Rikyu
Lower Garden
Stone lantern – Ishi-dōrō (石燈籠)
Kimono-sleeve lantern – Sode-gata tōrō (袖形燈籠)
Alligator’s mouth lantern – Wanikuchi dōrō (鰐口燈籠)
Korean stone lantern – Chōsen-dōrō (朝鮮燈籠)
Middle Garden
Christian lantern – Kirishitan-dōrō (キリシタン燈籠)
Oribe stone lantern (織部燈籠)
Upper Garden
Mountain temple lantern – Yamadera-dōrō (山寺燈籠)
Waterfall viewing lantern – Takimi-dōrō (滝見燈籠)

5 pages with
13 pictures of the stone lanterns of the Shugaku-in Rikyu garden

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

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Directions

How to get there

The easiest way to get to the Shūgaku-in Imperial Villa is to take the city bus number 5 to the stop Shūgaku-in Rikyu Michi. From there, walk 15 min in eastern direction.

Admission
Free
Only adults over 18 can apply for the tour.

Address
JP: 〒 606-8052 京都府京都市左京区修学院藪添
EN: Shugakuin Yabusoe, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8052

Telephone
+81-75-211-1215

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.

Shinjuku Gyoen  (新宿御苑)

Surprisingly, Shinjuku Gyoen has one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in Tokyo. It is a vast park and has different garden sections: a Japanese garden with two ponds connected by a small river, a formal French garden with roses en masse and an English Landscape garden.

The park used to be the residence of the Naitō daimyō clan and was built in the Edo period (1603-1868). In the Meiji period (1868-1912), the Imperial Household Agency took over the garden and remodeled it for the imperial family in 1906. It was completely destroyed in the Second World War in 1945. In 1949, the gardens were opened to the public for the first time.

Especially in spring, between end of March and end of April, the Japanese garden is worth a visit when more than 1500 cherry trees turn the landscapes in all shades of white and pink. The perfectly round trimmed azaleas shine in a bright pink and purple in May and June. There is also a Japanese tea house with a marvellous view of the pond, surrounded by a tree panorama that manages to screen out Tokyo’s modern buildings.

Contents:
Introduction
History
Buildings
Gardens
Anikas Impressions
Around Shinjuku Gyoen

17 pages full of information about the Shinjuku Gyoen
33 pictures of the gardens

PDF 22MB
mobi 19MB

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Directions

How to get there
You can get to the park by either walking in a westward direction from Shinjuku Station or Yoyogi Station or take the Marunouchi line to Shinjuku-Gyoen-Mae station (新宿御苑前). Another subway station close by is Shinjuku San-chome (新宿三丁目), served by Marunouchi line, Shinjuku line and Fukutoshin line.

Admission
500 yen

Opening times
10/1 – 3/14 9:00am to 4:00pm (closes at 4:30)
3/15 – 9/30 9:00am to 5:30pm (closes at 6:00)
7/1 – 8/20 9:00am to 6:30pm (closes at 7:00)
Closed on Mondays and between December 29th and January 3rd

Tel
+81-(0)3-3350-0151 

Address
11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo