Monday was a public holiday in Japan. I signed up to go on an Autumn walk through the grounds of Tokyo University, Japan’s oldest and most prestigious National University and to Rikugien a Japanese Garden which once belonged to a Samurai Lord.
I went with a Meet Up group called Tokyo Good View Walks which is hosted by Yukiko. She aims to organise a walk or outing a month to introduce different areas of Tokyo and its surrounds.
It was a gray drizzly day but great to get out and meet new folks. There were 8 of us, NZ, Australia, China, Korea, France and Japan were all represented.
Yukiko had a great route organised and shared various information as we wandered.
The land Tokyo University is on once belonged to the Maeda clan. They were Samurai who supported the Tokugawa Shogunate and were gifted this land for their support. When the Samurai were abolished in the Meiji Era and the land was returned to the Emperor and Government. This particular esate was put aside for the University. The Maeda house still stands in the grounds and is open to the public once a year. We wandered down to a pretty pond which was part of the estate.
The Sanshiro pond and its surrounding garden was considered one of the finest in Edo, Old Tokyo. The garden was called ” the Garden of Teaching Virtue” and the pond’s shape is based on the Kanji for heart ( as in the spiritual one) Its real name was Shinjiike, 心字池 or The Heart Character Pond but after Natsumi Soeseki, a reknown Japanese novelist published “Sanshiro” which features the pond, it became known as Sanshiro Pond
After the University we caught a bus to the Rikugien Gardens. They are well known for the Autumn foliage and in Autumn do an evening light up.
These gardens were constructd in 1702 by a Samurai lord. It represents a typical daimyo garden of the Edo Era. It is a circuit style garden which offer changing views and viewing pleasure as you meander through.
When the samurai were abolished in the Meiji Era, many samurai families reinvented themselves as the new Era’s great industrialists. This garden was the second residence of the founder of Mitsubishi, Iwasaki Yataro during the Meiji Era and then was donated to the city of Tokyo in 1938 by the family.
It holds great cultural and historical significance and was designated as A Special Place of Scenic Beauty in 1953.
Even though it was a gray old day, it was fun to get out and explore new places.
Where to next?
Yoroshiku Onegai shimasu