The Hamarikyu Gardens is one of my favorite places in Tokyo. It us located next to the Tsukiji fish market on Tokyo Bay’s shoreline. In the old times there was a villa used by the Tokugawa family in summer, after the shogunate was abolished Hamarikyu became a recreation area for the Meiji Emperor and his colleagues (Japanese aristocracy). On those times, late XIX century the Emperor was able to go from his palace to the Hamarikyu Gardens in a boat following some channels. Nowadays those water channels are lost, and instead we have zillions of skyscrapers in Shiodome and many fancy shops and department stores around west Ginza. Good news is that the gardens are not any more “property of the Emperor”, the gardens became public and can be visited almost any day of the year.
Japanese aristocracy living in Tokyo liked to practice duck hunting, horse riding and tea ceremony in Hamarikyu. Nowadays the visitors can still watch ducks (Hunting is not allowed 🙂 ) and also drink tea in a traditional tea house. Also, near the entrance the is a 300 year old pine, it seems Shogun Ienobu planted that pine.
This is the tea house in the main island.
What I like the most of Hamarikyu is how nicely pruned is every single tree and how much does the park change depending on the season. There are some flower fields with many species that blossom in different seasons painting the landscape with beautiful colors that vary depending when you visit the gardens. I also like the water channels and lakes, all the water in the park is connected to the Tokyo Bay an the water level varies with tides. Furthermore, the channel and ponds structure is supposed to be zen, and if you see the map the legend says that it was designed so that it looks like a zen garden (karesansui) where the lakes are the rocks and the greenery is the sand. This is the aerial view of the park, do you see the “zen”? I can’t…
The park opens from 9 AM until 5 PM, and it costs 300 yen. There is a 10 minutes walk from Tsukij-shijo station (Oedo line), here there is the detailed map. I usually go from Ginza station, it takes around 20 minutes. The best plan is to eat Sushi near the fish market, walk and relax en Hamarikyu and then take a ferry (The last one departs around 16h) from a pier that is inside the park. The most interesting ferry rides will transport you to Odaiba or Asakusa where you can finish the day watching some temples (Asakusa) or enjoying some Tokyo skyline views (Odaiba).
These are some of my Hamarikyu pictures taken since 2004 with many different cameras (Nikon E5200, Fuji S9000, Canon IXY9000, Nikon D40):
View more pictures of these flowers, you can enjoy these colors visiting Hamarikyu in August.