Hama Rikyu

Hama Rikyu is a large green space located where the Sumida River flows into Tokyo Bay, just across from Tokyo’s central fish market.


It is perhaps more park than garden, but it is certainly worth seeing.


It’s a space that has had various uses over the centuries – hunting grounds, shipping center, nobleman’s estate. The canal above and all the ponds are filled with salt water that rises and falls with the tide.


There’s an enormous Black Pine (Pinus nigra), known as the Three Hundred Year Pine. It was planted in 1709, and has been carefully shaped and pruned over the centuries.


The twisting boughs make me think of an old man’s gnarled fingers.


And like an old man with a walker, it leans on many wooden poles, without which it would collapse.


One thing you will find in Hama Rikyu is a whole field of summer-blooming annual flowers. To be specific, Cosmos sulphureus.


There were numerous butterflies nectaring on the flowers. Somebody told me the name of this species a while back, but I’ve already forgotten.


I was starting to feel flower=deprived – all the subtle shades of green in the other Japanese gardens were becoming a bit wearisome so I was very happy to see a big field of orange flowers.

dsc_0519There were some other colors also.


I noticed quite a few of these trees with the very ornamental summer berries.


I feel like I should know this species, but I can’t think of it.


Most of the Japanese gardens we visited have a sort of world apart feel, but in Hama Rikyu you don’t forget that you are still in Tokyo.


I enjoyed walking along the waterfront areas of the park.


In fact, there’s a water taxi station on the grounds should you want one.


Though it was an overcast day, I loved the reflections in the water.



In one spot there was a cormorant nesting area. I snuck up as close as I could get – it was fenced off – and got this picture.


There’s an inviting-looking tea house on the grounds, but I didn’t go inside.


This fierce fellow is the traditional god of war and his name has a lot of syllables.

Fields of flowers, venerable trees, and views of the city are all compelling reasons to see Hama Rikyu should you find yourself in Tokyo.

41 Comments on “Hama Rikyu”

  1. I love the trees in Japanese gardens, they are just so different to anything we have here. Amazing to see trees from 1709…my goodness….in Sydney they have just pulled out 200 year old trees to build light rail.. …really hard to know what to do about human progress verses tree growth over a long period of time.

  2. With flowers and greens it seems to be all or nothing. I love that picture of the city reflected in the canal. It looks like ligularia on the left side right by the edge.?? I think it is fascinating how they can prune pines into clouds. Doesn’t it make you wonder when and why they started that? I can think of a why. Those big old trees are marvels. Such quiet beauty.

  3. The Black pines are stunning! I have used a few here in Japanese style gardens. I can only hope someday they look so beautiful. How cool the canal above ponds rises and falls with the tide. What an amazing trip!

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