Kyosumi Garden One Traditional Japanese Garden In Tokyo
One of the best traditional Japanese styles garden in Tokyo is in this sleepy east part of Tokyo, Kyosumi Garden. Once it was a private garden, belonging to Mitsubishi group. In the Meiji era this was the property of Mitsubishi patriarch Kinokuniya San. From then till now – over last close to hundred and fifty years this area of Tokyo has undergone a sea change. But this one garden has been well preserved under care of Mitsubishi group. Being accessible only to company high ranking officials and their guests this garden maintained its originality, oblivious of all the rapid changes happening around.
It was built around a central pond, with wooden bridges, tea house, undulating small hills and valleys, forests full of Japanese pines, maples, junipers, and bamboo groves. Stone steps led to the bridge below an artificial waterfall. Water worn old stones having specific religious bearings were shipped in from distant places around Japan and positioned carefully in the landscape. The ambiance is still there.
Now it’s maintained by local government. For a minimal entry fee charged. It’s a few minutes walk from Toei Oedo line or Hanzomon line Kyosumi Shirakawa station.
Being somewhat away from the city center and key tourist attractions, the surroundings still bear the distant old Japan look. No Mc burgers, save for Denny’s if you plan for a lunch nearby. Neither too many Izakayas – the Japanese restaurants.. Traditional residential area. Shops still actually sell fresh veg produce in wooden baskets!
The walking route
Once inside you might like to follow the Arrow pointing towards the walking route. If you don’t though, you won’t be lost since there’s not many paths to choose from anyway. Walk towards the central pond, keep walking around anti clockwise. Go Past the walkway made of stone slabs. Step Across the bridge. Make your way over the stones underneath which the goldfish and the turtles laze around. Take the walk up the small tree-covered slope. Take your time. The view from here encompasses the entire water body surrounded by the green hills with a central tea room. The entire panorama in one frame. There are benches for the ones wishing to take the view in.
The path goes further ahead passing around the tea room. It’s restricted access no peeking around please. The walkway divides. An adjacent garden comes into view. There is a wooden pavilion, and several wooden barbecue style tables. Good for taking a bento break. This area is sometimes used by those modern yoga healing classes.
From here visitors head back to the walking course that snakes behind the tea room and heads towards a narrow creek. Gold Fishes crowd around the creek. A few weather worn stones, with Japanese maples cedars and ferns growing around them create an image of a land far off. Pristine. Where waterfalls glisten in the morning sunshine, gurgling down the quiet valley. Curiously a stork some day found its way here, and since called this place home.
The pathway past this point again starts going up. Turns left once the Stone lamp stand comes into view. A lane goes straight ahead, heading towards the lily beds. Another forks left towards a green island, past a small bridge.
The walk ends at a traditional ryokan style hall, glass covered, with extended wooden patio. The grass lawn and the pebbled walkways merge back where the arrow said Start.
Autumn is said to be the best time to enjoy this park. It’s amongst one of the sites to enjoy Fall colors right in Tokyo. At other times also, it does not fail to impress. A break from the civilized world for a couple of hours. Priceless.
Official Tokyo Parks website http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kiyosumi/