A Tokyo Power Garden
You’ve heard of the power lunch, power walk, and power nap, right? Well, Koishikawa Korakuen is a power garden. It was commissioned in the 17th Century by a member of the ruling Tokugawa clan. The name means “the garden for enjoying power later on”, at least according to the Tokyo Parks website.
Like Rikugien, this garden is organized around a central pond featuring an island. Its 18 acres are full of miniature representations of landscapes both real and derived from literature.
It did rain for a bit when we first arrived. Koishikawa Korakuen is located right next to a the Tokyo Dome and an amusement park. You can see part of a roller coaster in this picture. Now and then music and the sound of roller coaster cars with their shrieking riders drifted into the garden. The Tokugawas would not approve.
We missed the Lotus blossoms but the dried seed heads are quite interesting, don’t you think?
I loved the old trees, their mossy bark shows plenty of character.
The garden was home to quite a few aquatic birds.
On one side of the island there is a rock formation (to the left) that is supposed to represent the head of a turtle. I don’t see it myself.
This was a popular spot for drawing, taking pictures, or just contemplating.
On this side of the island you can see a stone lantern and what I think is a shrine, painted bright red.
One thing this garden has that you won’t find at Rikugien is a little rice paddy, complete with scarecrows. I thought this scarecrow was particularly artistic and full of personality. Nice fashion sense, too.
The idea of including a small patch of grain in a garden is appealing. The netting is to keep the grains of rice safe from the birds.
This channeled stream has a dreamy quality.
One of the things I don’t like so much about these Japanese stroll gardens is all the space devoted to closely clipped lawn. Personally, I think it’s boring. Moss, stone, or ground covers would be preferable. The lawns must be a lot of work to maintain and frankly, I don’t think they have the resources to do it right. If you look closely you can see lots of weeds and ragged edges.
The one flower that could be found in abundant bloom during our visit was Red Spider Lily (Lycoris radiata). Behind this patch of Spider Lily you can see the Full Moon Bridge, which originated as an element in Chinese gardens.
Here’s a closer look at the bridge.
Another old tree with lots of character.
This slope is supposed to represent Mt. Atago in the old capitol city of Kyoto.
A path through the woods.
In one corner of the garden there is a second, smaller pond. It’s full of water lilies (just starting to bloom) and has its own island.
Back into the woods we went.
And came upon this bridge, painted an almost shocking orange. It provides a visual wake-up call after all the restful green.
If you keep going you see an artificial river traversed by a bridge fringed with live green.
You can also cross via a stepping stone path.
Which provides a view from below of the bridge you just crossed.
The Tokugawa were stern rulers, but they could appreciate a nice garden. This is the last of the Tokyo gardens from our trip. There is more to come, however, including our stays in Kyoto and Kanazawa.
However, that’s all for right now.