Korakuen, the garden for the Edo (Tokyo) residence of the Mito Tokugawas (Ibaraki Prefecture)
Take a step outside and you’ll see Korakuen Amusement Park and Tokyo Dome. Inside this bustling and lively area for young people and families, there is Koishikawa Korakuen which was built in the Edo Era. It was built in 1629 in the early Edo Era as the Edo residence garden for the Mito Tokugawas, one of the three branch families retaining status just under the Tokugawa shoguns. Afterwards, under the aegis of the second leader of the Mito Tokugawas, Mitsukuni, further work was done and the gorgeous garden was completed.
A garden to enjoy scenery whose impressions change during the course of a stroll
The garden was designed with a beautiful view of a pond centering various bridges and stones, and was constructed to resemble the mountains and rivers in the natural world with small hills and streams to enjoy as a part of nature as you sit in the garden. Also, it was created in the style of a garden encircling a pond which was popular during the Edo Era to be cherished as a landscape whose impressions change as you walk through it. At the time, Mitsukuni, who was influenced by Confucian thought, imbued the garden everywhere with a Chinese style that included the arched bridges, a style that was considered to be the cutting edge in garden design.
Places to see
The biggest highlight in the garden has to be Daisensui Pond that expressed the scenery of Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake. Long ago, it is said that the daimyo (feudal lords) took graceful boat rides on the pond. As well, the fusion of nature-filled vistas such as Seiko-no-Tsutsumi, which resembles Seiko Lake in China, Engetsukyo Bridge, which was designed by a Confucian scholar during the Ming Dynasty, and the vermilion Tsutenkyo Bridge is splendid. You can enjoy the flowers and trees of the four seasons whenever you visit, but during early April, the 60-year-old weeping cherry trees start to blossom in the garden, and the scenery becomes even more vivid. On the other hand, a rather odd thing is the presence of Tokyo’s only rice paddy which was built to teach about the hardships in growing rice. However in summer, the idyllic scene of ears of rice rustling away is quite calming.
Koishikawa Korakuen was designated in 1952 as a Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty, and it has continued to retain its beautiful appearance as a famous garden which is prominent in Japan. It is a scenic site in Japan that can be visited easily while in Tokyo. It’s fine and all that to spend a day at Korakuen Amusement Park and then catch a game at Tokyo Dome. But if you are into gardens, why not drop by here and immerse yourself in the romanticism of Edo at a daimyo’s garden which was the pride of Mitsukuni Tokugawa?