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.

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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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.

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
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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

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

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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.

Erin-ji(恵林寺)

Erin-ji is a quiet Zen temple surrounded by the Yamanashi mountains. It was built in 1330, when Nikaidō Sadafuji the military governor of the Kai-no-kuni administration asked the Zen priest and garden designer Musō Soseki (夢窓 疎石), also known as Musō Kokushi, to found the temple.

At that time, it was a Rinzai Zen temple of the Engaku-ji branch. It was destroyed in the Ōnin war (1467-77), but rebuilt when the Takeda samurai clan appointed it to be their family temple. In 1541, it changed to be a temple of the Myōshin-ji branch of the Rinzai school. The famous daimyo Takeda Shingen (武田 信玄) is buried here.

It is quite surprising that you only see a few visitors in the temple, given its importance, size and beauty. There is a small dry landscape garden and a big pond garden. Especially the pond garden is impressive. The temple also features a nightingale floor whose wooden boards squeak, when a person (or ninja) tries to sneak up to the building.
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Contents:
  • Introduction
  • The monk and the garden
  • Cold fire and spiritual enlightenment
  • Architectural features of the temple
  • The Zen garden


10 pages, packed with
42 great Japanese garden pictures
in 14 MB
The eBook is delivered as PDF.

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Directions

How to get there
From Shinjuku station, take the JR Chuo Line (中央線) to Enzan Station (塩山駅). With the Rapid train, this takes about 1hour and 25 minutes. From there take the bus and get off at the bus stop called “Erin-ji”.

Telephone
0553-33-3011

Address
2280 Oyashiki Enzan , Koshu City 404-0053

Admission
300 Yen

Opening hours
8:30am – 4:30pm

Customer’s Voice

I’d never heard of Erin-ji before I read this ebook. The pictures are stunning and I’m surprised the garden and temple are not more widely known because they look absolutely gorgeous! The book also had the perfect amount of history – enough to give you an understanding, but not so much that you felt overwhelmed. Gorgeous book and looking forward to reading more..and going to Erin-ji sometime, of course!

N.R.

Amida-dō Byōdō-in (Phoenix Hall)(平等院 鳳凰堂)

Byodo-in Amida-do by Real Japanese Gardens
The Byōdō-in temple near Kyoto city was built in 998 in the Heian period (794-1192) as residence for Minamoto no Toru.

In 1052, it became a Buddhist temple. A year later, the Amida Hall, also called Phoenix Hall or Hōō-do was built. Until this day, it stands here in is original form.

In front of the Phoenix hall is a pond garden, which symbolizes the Pure Land, the paradise.

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Directions

How to get there
From Kyoto station, take the Nara line towards Joyo. After 30 minutes and 8 stops, get off at Uji station (宇治). From there it is only a short walk in eastern direction.

Opening times
8:30am – 5:30pm

Admission
300 yen

Shisen-dō  (詩仙堂)

Shisen-dō is is a temple of the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism. It was built in the early Edo period (1641) as a retirement villa for Ishikawa Jōzan. Ishikawa Jōzan was a poet and calligrapher.

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eBook Coming…

Directions

How to get there
The easiest way to get to Shisen-do is to take the Kyoto city bus number 5 from Kyoto station. It takes around 50 minutes and 25 bus stops to get there. Get off at Ichijoji Sagarimatsucho (一乗寺下り松町) and walk 4minutes in uphill in eastern direction.

Admission
500 Yen

Opening times
9am to 5pm

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

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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

Sankei-en  (三溪園)

This beautiful landscape garden in Yokohama is one of Japan’s youngest gardens. Construction works began in 1902 and it was opened to the public in 1906. The founder of the garden, Sankei Hara, a silk trader from Yokohama, has collected numerous buildings from all over Japan. Japanese buildings can often be dismantled and put together in another place. This is what Sankei did to preserve these historically significant buildings.

The garden has several ponds and streams. In the outer garden, next to the main pond, the Main Hall and three-storied pagoda of Tōmyō-ji temple in Kyoto have been rebuilt.

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eBook Coming…

Directions

How to get there
From the Yokohama main station, take bus number 8 towards Honmoku-Shako (本牧車庫) and get off at Honmoku-Sankei-en-mae. From there, walking in south western direction, follow the signs toward the park entrance.

Address
58-1 Honmokusannotani, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture

Admission
500 yen

Openting times
9am – 5pm (last entrance 30 before closing time)
Not open between December 29th and 31st.