Hama Rikyu is a lovely garden with a long history open to the public. It was another Golden Week outing with the Canadian Crew.
The site was originally a tidal duck hunting ground. Matsudaira Tsunashige a samurai and the feudal lord of the Kofu domain built himself and urban villa in 1654. He did this by reclaiming land from the tidal pools.I was very surprised to think of land reclamation in the Tokyo area as early as the 1600’s. I thought it was a modern solution to a large population and shortage of land.
A series of Shogun developed the area over the centuries and the grounds eventually passed to the Imperial family during the Meiji Era in 1868. It then became know as the Hama Detached Palace or Hama Rikyu Onshi Teien.
The Palace sustained heavy damage during the Grant Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and World War II. In 1946 Tokyo city took over the care of it and it was oppened to the public. In 1952 it was deemed to be a site of great cultural and historical importance.
Hama-rikyu is a large 25 hectare diamond shaped garden along side the Sumida River. The Tokugawa Shoguns used to access it by boat and to this day you can still catch a water taxi from Odaiba or Asakusa. The water taxi lands very near to the original samurai landing site.
- There are plenty of options. As mentioned there is a water taxi from Odaiba, Asakusa, Ryogoku or Hinode Pier.
- It is a 5-minute walk from Shiodome Station on the Toei-Oedo and Yuri-kamome Lines to the Naka-no-gomon entrance.
- It is 7 minutes on foot from both Shiodome and Tsukijishijo Stations on the Toei Oedo Subway Line to the Otemachi Gate.
- It takes about 12 minutes on foot from Shimbashi Station on the JR Yamanote Line (take the Shiodome-guchi Exit), Tokyo Subway Ginza Line and the Toei Asakusa Line.
- Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry at 4.30 p.m.)
- Open every day – except from December 29 to January 1.
- 300 yen. Free for elementary school age and younger.
There are lots of features to be seen around the garden.
- Just inside the Otemon Gate is a 300 year old pine tree. It is propped up on frames and meticulously tended
- There is a flower feild, a peony garden and a plum grove
- There is an Enryokan reception lodge which is where the Imperial family used to receive visiting dignitaries. It is said to be the first western style tone building in Japan. the 18th President of the USA, Ulysses S Grant stayed there for 2 months.
- There are duck ponds.
- There is a tidal pond which is Tokyo’s only remaining saltwater pond.
- There are various bridges crossing the ponds and one leads to Nakajima, an island.
- On Nakajima there s a lovely teahouse which was the main reason the intrepid Canadians wanted to visit.
- The garden planting are done so there is always something to enjoying no matter what the season is.
Nakajima no Ochaya (Nakajima Teahouse)
The original Teahouse was built in 1707. The one there now is not the original but has been reconstructed to represent its predecessor. The views from the teahouse are beautiful and relaxing. Macha tea is served with a traditional Japanese sweet on tatami mats. Outdoor seating is available for those who can’t handle sitting Japanese style on the tatami mats. The cost is 500 yen or 700 yen depending on the type of sweet you chose.
Yoroshiku Onegai shimasu