Marked as the garden paradise during the Edo Period, and the haven of the Imperial family, Hamarikyu is inarguably a cultural gem of Japan. A relaxing place, scenic no matter the season, with a pond drawn from the bay, a teahouse, and a place where you can see many pretty flowers!
Understanding its History
Hamarikyu Gardens, a very graceful setting of contrasting nature and sea water reservoir set foot as the resting place of the Kofu clan and consequently became a unique plot of land for the Tokugawa Shogun. Once designated as an external fort of the Edo fortress, when the Meiji restoration took place, the Hamarikyu Gardens became a place where the imperial family sought safety and solace. Moreover, the garden served as a hunting ground, as well as the Bakufu navy’s academic field.
The Garden’s Main Features
A great tourist attraction near the Hamarikyu Gardens is the Seawater Pond.You should go to the Seawater Pond if you want a relaxing stroll around the area and if you just want to breathe in the natural scenery that the park and pond offers.
In the Seawater Pond, you can see beautiful peony flowers growing everywhere, you can also see ducks in the pond. But what makes the seawater pond unique is that it is the only body of water in Tokyo where there are saltwater fish present in the pond.
Hinoki Cypress Bridge
The Hinoki Cypress Bridge is located above a pond, which makes it a romantic and scenic place to visit. The bridge is made out of Japanese cypress. With a length of 118 meters, this hinoki bridge with a traditional, wooden appearance connects the teahouses- Kono-ji Shima and Nakajima.
The bridge’s structure was finalized back in the late 1990s. This bridge is a sight to see because it gives you a magnificent view of the sky and a majestic seascape. It is the perfect place to stop and contemplate the unmatched surroundings of the Hamarikyu Garden.
After you cross the cypress bridge, a traditional teahouse awaits you. Known as the Nakajima-no-ochaya, this was built around 1704 and became the comfort place of the royal family. Also, the location offers a magnificent view of the Tokyo Bay, enjoyed by the court and the Tokugawa shogun.
Here, with a further expense of 500 yen, you can take a rest on the tea house’s tatami mats while sipping on delicious matcha tea.
Duck Hunting Grounds
Another unique activity that tourists can enjoy when visiting the Hamarikyu Gardens are the duck hunting grounds! There are two duck hunting grounds in the area which were built in the late 1770s and the early 1790s respectively.
The duck hunting grounds are made of dense plants and heavy greenery so ducks are able to camouflage accordingly. Duck hunters use a variety of traps, duck calls, and other items to lure out the ducks and hunt them. Because this is Japan, there is also a duck mound where this symbolizes paying tribute to the spirits of the ducks that were hunted.
Nestled at the far edge of the flower plantation of 60 different kinds of peonies, a strikingly ancient sanctuary is seen- the Inabu Shrine. Living as the only sanctum in this unique Tokyo Garden, this shapes unfamiliarity, pulling tourists to take a picture with the verdant forest as its backdrop.
300-Year-Old Pine Tree
You will notice even from the gate of the Hamarikyu Gardens is the 300-year old, thick pine tree. This pruning dark pine with sturdy trunk creeping to the grounds was planted as an honor of the garden’s reconstruction. What makes this pine tree unique is aside from its old age of 300 years old, some spectators say that the tree looks like it is weeping.