Welcome to a little exploration of the Garden of Words. Yes part of my reason for wanting to see Shinjuku Gyoen was because I enjoyed that anime. Part because seeing the different gardens of Japan is enjoyable. Part a desire for a break from the crowds. So on a Wednesday I took the Oedo Line to Shinjuku Station. Somewhere in that labyrinth station is this interesting glass and metal mural. The green markings on the floor means it's near where the Oedo Line platforms are. I could not find information online as to who the artist is.
Not only is the station a bit confusing since some directional signs are blocked by other signs or placed out of eyesight as you struggle to find your exit, also making sure you are going the right direction once you are out can be a bit intimidating due to the many skyscrapers that tower over you.
I tend to go by landmarks and maps but this time I added in taking random photos along the way in case I had trouble getting back to the right station entrance. Along with a photo or two of the almost clear blue sky. I could review the photos walking back looking for the same landmarks.
I was walking in the right direction to the park. But going the wrong direction to the main gate so I ended up walking down a very long side street while sakura blossoms waved at me over the garden fence.
And blue violets nodded their heads just beyond the very long fence.
After a while I reached the Shinjuku Gyoen Sendagaya gate, paid my entrance fee and began to explore. This is not the main gate to the park which is on the other side of the park.
One of the first things that struck me was how brown the grounds were. All the photos I've seen always shared how green and lush the garden is. Instead I was reminded of Southern California in summer. Except this was March. I guess Oregon has spoiled me with green winters. Also notable was how many trees were ready to bloom with flowers.
Despite the dried grass people were enjoying resting in the nice weather. I did notice that there were a good number of tourists from other countries in the park, more than I noticed in other parts of Tokyo up till that time.
Since I was going to meet up with someone later in the day I had to limit what I saw so I decided to follow the waterways to the other side of the park where the main gate is.
I think this was a good choice since there are a number of ponds and streams through out the Japanese Garden section and was calming and spacious. This is something to note in Tokyo since a lot of one's time there is spent in very crowded trains and streets.
One of the lovely buildings in the garden is the Taiwan Pavilion, Kyu-Goryo-Tei. Built in 1927 in commemoration of Emperor Showa's marriage, it offers a unique place to view the park landscape.
I imagine in the heat of the summer it must be quite nice in here. The building was designed by architect Matsunosuke Moriyama and is in the Minnan style. The building was donated by voluntary Japanese residents in Taiwan.
Along with that the wood carving inside matches the beauty outside. Information about it can be found at this Shinjuku visitors website.
Just a little of the view from the Pavilion. There were a number of photographers with very large camera lenses trying to take photos of birds in these sculpted pine trees.
Definitely a place to escape Tokyo crowds.
Even with the Tokyo skyline within sight.
There are a number of these shelters at the ike (ponds). This one must look lovely when the flower vines over it bloom.
There are also a few stone lanterns along the paths of the Japanese style garden section.
Even carp in the streams. Curved bridges cross in places, their unpainted wood blending in to the natural feeling of the garden.
While this garden feels a little more wild than some formal Japanese gardens, there is still great care taken in the sculpting of many of the trees. This lovely one shelters a rugged stone lantern.
I have to say that Shinjuku Gyoen is a little oasis in the middle of Tokyo.
In case you are wondering what this building that looms over the park and Shinjuku is, it is the NTT Docomo Yoyogi Building, third tallest building in Tokyo.
You may be wondering where those sakura blooming trees are? Well I took a lot of photographs and to avoid overwhelming in one post they will be in my next post about Shinjuku Gyoen.