When it comes to sakura (cherry blossoms) viewing, I really believe that the best places are the ones lining some of the rivers and roads around Tokyo. The sakura is far more prominent in these area’s yet many, many people descend on the various parks and gardens of the capital to get their fix of the pink flowers. Not sure why. I guess it’s not just about the cherry trees but also the atmosphere and ambience that comes with being in an official and proper place rather than just being on a random street. Who knows?!!
I’ve already posted about our trip to Shinjuku Gyoen gardens but a couple of days prior to that I went to Koishikawa Korakuen gardens to see both cherry blossoms and the gardens themselves and thus kill two birds with one stone. Having recently come across some old pictures of the place from my last visit in 2005-2006 I realised that there was nothing on Tokyo Fox about these gardens and so rather than doing a TF Flashback post I just thought I’d re-visit the place to coincide with the sakura season.
Back in 2011, I cycled the length of the Kanda River following the cherry blossoms from the Sumida Gawa River to the pond in Inokashira Park in Kichijoji. I had originally planned to to include Koishikawa Korakuen as part of my travel journey but decided against it at the last moment due to time constraints. This time though, I did cycle to the gardens en-route to work in Shibuya a couple of weeks back. It was admittedly a bit of a detour but I was keen to see the place in it’s Spring-time glory whilst I had the chance.
These 70,000 square-metre gardens incorporate elements of Japanese and Chinese landscaping and were originally built in 1629. It’s a circuit style place with ponds, bridges and manmade hills centring on the main pond.
The full moon bridge (below) gets its name from the reflection on the water surface and near to that is seiko-no-tsutsumi; a bank inspired by Chinese taste and flavour.
pond full of carp who use their hoover-like mouths to gobble up any food thrown to them
With hindsight, I should probably have waited a day as the following day was a glorious one and the cherry trees bloomed quite significantly in those 24 hours. Still, it was a nice way to spend a pleasant morning strolling round the place.
Koishikawa Korakuen is tucked away behind the Tokyo Dome which can mean that it offers a less peaceful retreat than some of the other gardens in Tokyo as the noise and music from the Tokyo Dome City amusement complex (home to Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant among other places) drifts over. Furthemore, the garden’s public address system is overly loud (and probably not even necessary) and then there are the big tour groups but you have to expect that I guess during such peak viewing seasons.
How to get there: Iidabashi (Chūō-Sōbu, Tozai, Yurakucho, Namboku, Oedo lines), Suidobashi (Chūō-Sōbu, Mita lines) and Korakuen (Marunouchi, Namboku lines) are all within short walks of the gardens. It is open from 9am – 5pm everyday and entrance is 300 yen for adults.
Click on the links below to read about other gardens in Tokyo: