Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
1 Naitomachi, Shinjuku,
Tokyo 160-0014, Japan
09:00 – 16:00 Daily except holidays
Shinjuku Gyoen is a calm oasis in Tokyo’s bustling in Shinjuku. Definitely worth a visit as it was originally an imperial garden for Lord Naito -, a “daimyo”(feudal lord). Strolling through, you can experience the lovely landscaping that translates the earths peace into your body. A rare occurrence without traveling far outside of major cities! Cherry blossoms and rhododendrons in spring and chrysanthemums abound in summer.
Shinjuku Gyoen is considered to be one of the most important gardens from the Meiji era. It shows the expansion of knowledge and culture as it divides into three main areas: a French formal garden, an English landscape garden and a Japanese Traditional Garden.
Awataguchi Sanjobocho, 6 9-1, Higashiyama Ward; Kyoto Prefecture 605-0035, Japan
9:00-17:00 Daily special evenings open for light show
Wwith four gardens connecting it’s buildings, Shōren-in is a marvelous temple, of the Buddhism Tendai sect, dating from the 12th century. An easy visit, being only five minute walk from Higashiyama, it’s small shrine and a expansive bamboo grove would be a shame to miss.
Inside the temples Kacho-den room, the screens are adorned with Fusuma paintings of lotus flowers by the artist Kimura Hideki; while above hang 36 framed portraits and poems from 36 seperate poets. Behind th Kacho-den room is the tearoom with view over the Soami-no-niwa Garden. During the cold months, this is the most delightful place to enjoy a hot drink and a sweet while absorbing the beauty of the garden.
8-3 Sagaogurayama Tabuchiyamacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8394, Japan
Located a 15 minute walk from Tenryūji Temple, on the slopes of Mount Ogura, at the end of the famous Arashiyama Tenryū-ji Bamboo Forest , is hidden this most beautiful place; Okochi Sanso. The former home and garden of the actor Denjirō Ōkōchi (1898–1962) the villa became public after his death in 1962.
Ōkōchi -san’s movie career spanned over 5 decades from 1926 – 1962. Escaping from the bustle of set, He retreated to the land and designed (mostly himself) this calming collection of gardens and buildings through the 1930s – 40s.
Narrow pathways, past the vistas and forests, will bring you to a small museum (for Denjirō Ōkōchi and his life in film), as well as the Jibutsudō – an original Meiji Era building. On your short walk, you can experience a most wonderful view of the fall foliage should you be present during the Autumn; and, with assumption, the same must be true for the spring bloom!
Keep your eyes open for a very discrete path. Via this hidden corridor, there is a secret building most visitors miss. Inside one will find, on one side, yet another perfect zen garden and on the back, a view to the mountains. Lovingly, this room has tables prepared paper and ink for any visitor to practice calligraphy.
After all Kyoto’s palaces and temples, one could really feel the personal love that Okochi Sanso put into his own home.
Tea garden in front of the Tekisuian