japanese garden

 

Happo-en Garden in Tokyo

In Tokyo we visited two large parks in one day, Koishikawa Koraku-en and Happo-en. Just like the first garden, Happo-en was created in the 17th century for the confidant of the shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, samurai Tadataka (Tadashi) Okubo. After changing several owners, in 1915 the estate was transferred to the industrialist, the founder of Hitachi, Fusanosuke Kuhara, who remodeled the garden and built most of today's buildings.

Just like Koraku-en, in Happo-en, the natural features of the area are most advantageously used. The garden is located on a picturesque slope. In fact, the road to the garden is a continuous descent down.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Here are many interesting details, some of them are of a very respectable age. Already at the beginning of our path we met a pagoda, a huge stone lantern and a covered arbor. On some sites it is written that the pagoda is about 1000 years old, but I have not yet found confirmation of this.

Happo-en Garden Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Along the path passing through the center of the hill, bonsai are exposed. Most of them are over a hundred years old, and one is even over five hundred! But which one is difficult to guess, they are all beautiful.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Further descent continued on the left side of the garden.

Happo-en Garden

To the left, the Kaku-tei tea house is hidden among the bushes.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

And if you go even lower, you can find a more modern tea house Hakuhokan.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

In front of teahouse there is a place covered with light gravel. However, unlike classic dry gardens, here it is designed to walk on it. This is indicated by numerous tracks on the gravel and a red table in the center.

Happo-en Garden

And yet this is not just a place for entertainment, it is also a garden, albeit uncharacteristic for Japan. Along the contour of the site there are plants, a pagoda, a lantern and a stone bowl.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Having examined the tea house, we continued to descend. From here the pond and its details are already clearly visible.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

In the distance, we noticed preparations for the wedding.

Happo-en Garden

Actually, Happo-en is nowadays actively used for weddings or other celebrations. And this is his main difference from Koishikawa Koraku-en. Couples from all over Tokyo come here not only for banquets, but also for wedding photo shoots. Especially beautiful are photos in the rays of the setting sun.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

But for those who came for a walk in this green oasis, the big pond is of most interest. It is especially nice to walk near the water in the summer, during the heat, as here is shady, cool and fresh. However, in the fall we also were very comfortable.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Undoubtedly, the main character of the pond is the Suichin arbor, located on the water. It attracts not only tourists eager to relax in coolness, but also participants in numerous wedding photo shoots. As a rule, they are photographed on a hill on the other side, but so that the frame includes a waterside arbor.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Bright koi carps swim in the pond, and they like to be around next to the arbor. Apparently, they can be fed there. But we did not have time to verify this assumption, since there is very little time left before sunset.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

On the shore, a little to the side, is historical value, the Muan Teahouse. It was originally built during the Edo Era by Tanaka Heihachi , a wealthy silk merchant. Later it was moved to Happo-en and reconstructed. Its name "Muan" dates back to the Muromachi Era, and its muted elegance reflects the essence of the tea ceremony spirit.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

In front of the entrance is a Midaroku Stone Lantern, which was carved more than 800 years ago! The author is Taira-No Munetaka, a samurai of the Heike clan. After the Heike were defeated by the rival Genji clan in the Genpei War, he took the tonsure and became a stonemason . Lanterns made by Taira-No Munetaka were erected at sites of battles in which the Heike met defeat as memorials to those who died. This one alone has survived the ravages of time.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

To the right of the tea house is the Shinto Daigo Shrine, dedicated to Emperor Jimmu (660 BC - 585 BC) and Emperor Meiji (1852 - 1912). Despite its small size, this shrine is of great importance, it is declared a national monument.

Happo-en Garden

More to the right there is a small chapel.

Happo-en Garden

And behind the chapel we saw a waterfall. From here the entire water system of the garden originates.

Happo-en Garden

We crossed a stream over a stone bridge. A cluster of fish was also observed here.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Now we had to go up to get to the exit. We walked, admiring the stunning arrays of shrubs forming various forms and creating their own relief on the slope.

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

Happo-en Garden

The name of the garden is literally means "The Garden of Eight Views", or "the garden, beautiful from all sides." The number "8" in Japan is considered to be happy, and in the same way, Happo-en makes everyone who comes here happy, because the person magically move from a hot, stuffy city to an unusually beautiful garden, cool, shady and soothing.

Happo-en Garden

 

Garden Information:

Address: 108-0071 Tokyo, Minato-ku, Shirokanedai 1-1-1, JAPAN

Opening hours: from 9 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.

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