Bolstered by the large and eventful breakfast, which I wrote about here, and visiting Tokyo in Crimson Leaves Season, we were keen to explore a traditional garden, on our first day in Japan. At the top of our list was the Gyoen National Garden, a green oasis that is completely amidst the busiest commercial district in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Originally a residence for one of Japan’s feudal Lord during the Edo period, the Gyoen National Garden fell under the control of the Imperial family in the twentieth century. Although much of the garden was then destroyed during World War II; you would never know it, as Gyoen is nothing short of a tranquil, well tended masterpiece of Japanese horticulture.
With the NTT Docomo building towering stoically above Gyoen’s tree line like an old world Imperial Guard, it is easy to remember the Shinjuku-Shibuya metropolis is never far away. However, the hard concrete lines of modernity are significantly softened by the more natural lines of the leafy foliage and traditional Japanese garden fixtures.
The Gyoen Guide Map offers us the chance to fully comprehend the scale of the park and orientates ourselves to ensure we see all the individual gardens and differing botanical features contained therein. Entrance, (with guide map in English), costs 200 Japanese Yen.
We don’t want to miss anything!
The small fee we pay to enter the garden is truly value for money, as the day we visit there is also a special floral display of cultivated chrysanthemums, which attracts the attention of many Japanese citizens.
Light rain only enhances the organic beauty around us, as the raindrops linger on the leaves. This delights my daughter as it makes for excellent photographic opportunities.
And we have the ubiquitous, clear-plastic umbrella to shield us. Very Japanese.
“Maple trees can be seen in large numbers around the Japanese garden and Momijiyama (maple mountain) on the [Gyoen] park’s eastern side. The colors typically appear from mid November to mid December. “Tokyo Tourist Guide
Our arrival is a week or so early to see the majority of crimson leaves in Tokyo, for the temperatures are unusually warm. Despite this, I find the trees are magical and remind me of a medieval Northern forest, or a scene from a Lord of the Rings novel.
The carp pond
No Japanese garden could be complete without a Carp pond – and Gyoen has one.
Again the city reminds you it’s not far too away.
Autumn avenue awesomeness
However, for this sub-tropical Australian resident, the ultimate heavenly experience is yet to come when I discover the avenue of Sycamore trees, a feast for local photographers. It is such a delight for me. I truly am in awe of these trees and their burst of colour.
This is Autumnal earth, resplendent in shades of sienna, brown, rust, bright yellow and green, all coalescing in an intense and harmonious collection of wholesome organic beauty.
The child in me wanted to run and kick up the fallen leaves, throw them in the air, rake them into a pile and jump on top of them. An Autumnal experience that exists only in my dreams.
Never before had I seen an avenue of trees that captivated me in such a way and I didn’t want to leave. [You have to remember we don’t have such deciduous trees in my home zone, so I’m super excited.]
Reluctantly, after several hours exploring and a gazillion photographs taken, we walk towards the park’s Sendagaya gate and find yet another magical path through the trees.
Gyoen National Garden – A perfect spot to sit and ‘Ponder About Something.’
Linking to Friendly friday photo walk a challenge hosted by me and Snowmeltssomewhere