Hamarikyu Garden was just outside our hotel room in the Shiodome area of Tokyo. If our room had been on the opposite side of the building we would have had a great view of the garden.
The garden was Shogun family falconry up until the mid-1600s when it was confiscated by the government. It became a public park in 1945.
Tokyo Bay essentially surrounds the park and salt water influences the creatures and plant life in it.
The least pleasant aspect of the garden was was the entrance. I’m not sure what it was (the still water or some plant nearby) but right near the water there was a really pungent, musky smell. If you just walk another 15 feet you now longer smell it and can enjoy the park without olfactory offense.
Tokyo is filled with buildings and concrete, yet there are these huge pockets of green. When you walk into the gardens, it’s striking how the skyscrapers start at the very edge. It’s a great contrast between the natural and the artificial.
I also like the trees growing into the arbor on the is one. The other thing I find interesting is the dry stream bed. No water flows through there at the moment, but I enjoyed the way the tall weeds looked against the trees and the shorter grass.
A stone bridge also crosses the weed bed.
Another area of the park was set aside for family and other types picnics. We saw a boy and his father running about the area the morning we visited.
At many green spaces and gardens in Tokyo, we saw people sketching the scene in their sketch pads. The fact that people did that was not unusual. The fact that so many people were doing it did surprise me. Is sketching/drawing a popular hobby in Tokyo?
People of various ages and genders sat down it the parks of Tokyo to sketch. Most of the time when I encounter that in the US, it’s mainly art students doing their homework, rather the general populace engaging in a hobby.
I like the look of the small, white flowers in this seating area.
Much of the sketching takes place around a central pond, which also had some wooden bridges crossing it.
Since the grounds were originally for hunting birds, it’s no surprise that there would be hunting blinds.
These images are of the ko-nozoki. The pond on the grounds draws ducks. The builders construct a creek with steep sides and at the end is this “observation” area. Ducks are lured down the creek to the hunters/spectators.
The more adventurous can go mountain climbing in the park. We summitted Mt Shinhinokuchi. It took about 4 minutes.
The garden is probably best known for its 300-year-old pine tree. It is the biggest Black Pine tree in Tokyo.
Over the years they have taken great strides to protect the tree. All of the major branches are supported by stanchions.
It may not be the most popular garden in Tokyo, and it may not be the biggest, but Hamarikyu is a nice place to visit and take a break from the city. The park opens at 9:00 AM. As a tourist, if you are staying at a hotel nearby, visit the Gardens. It might also be a good stop to add if you are already going to Tsukiji. Watch the Tuna Auctions at the market, have a leisurely sushi breakfast, take your time and then wander on up to the garden.