The Hamarikyū garden
Chūō-ku, Tōkyō-to Japan
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 wild flowers (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 also allows you to roam around freely and just gives you information when you come to an important part of the garden.
A Japanese Garden in the Middle of Skyscrapers
Trident maple and other maple varieties are planted in the surroundings, allowing you to take in the beautiful autumn leaves.
Annual Autumn Leaves Season: Mid-November – early December