Day 28 – 後楽園 A garden for enjoying power later on

This morning I visit a gem that is NOT mentioned anywhere in Lonely Planet.

Koishikawa Korakuen 小石川後楽園

A beautiful lanscape garden dating from 1629. It was completed by Tokugawa Mitsukuni (a grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu) and designed with  teh help of Shu Shunsui, a Confucian scholar and refugee from China. The name is based on a maxim from Hanchuen’s “Gakuyoro-ki” that states

there is a need for those in power to worry about maintaining power first and then enjoy power later

So I suppose after three generations the Tokugawa clan could build a park for enoyment. The residence next to the park is now the Tokyo Dome, but a quarter of the original park, about 7 hectares has been preserved.

You don’t realise you are in the middle of Tokyo (somehow sound doesn’t travel far anywhere in Japan..still don’t know why?) until you catch the reflection of a skyscraper in the waterand I think this is my favourite shot…with skyscrpaer fully refleced in the water…to me it represents the idea of enjoying power after maintaining power

Apparently specific sections in the garden evoke the Chinese Rozan mountain and Lake Saiko, and the Oikawa River in Kyoto. The  twisting paths and ups and down give different views designed to remind the visitor of every major type of structure in china and japan:  a castle moat, a Confucian full moon bridge, Kyoto’s Togetsukyo bridge and Kiyomizu Temple, a shrine, and an Edo-era drinking house. There are areas that resemble forest, mountain, river, lake, rice field, and plum orchard. Koishikawa Korakuen epitomizes the archetype of the lanscapes of Japan, which go from ocean to forest to hills and mountains.

After this very quiet and pleasant morning, I return to the Bunkamura museum in Shibuya (and manage to find the Kinokuniya store I was unable to find before…the signs here are only in Japanese and I never knew which kanji they use for Kinokuniya). The special exhibit is called

The Past and Present of Designs that Open the Way to the Future: 1960s

Postmodern design seems to be the same the world over, but it is a pleasant stroll through the galleries. The most amusing object that was designed is also on sale in the gift shop, a device for attaching a pencil to your hand so it acts like a sixth finger, but moves out f the way when you type.  Now whoever makes the best comment, can have this unique designer creation as a gift 😉


This is my first weekend in Tokyo (and by lunchtime the crowds are unbearable…I think I had forgotten how crowded the city can be!) The rest of the day is spent shopping in Shinjuku at Takashimaya, Tokyu Hands and Kinokuniya…here are some xmas displays made out of emtpy drink bottlesand I also buy a new piece of luggage as well…I ask the store assistant to carefully check that it complies with the online cabin restrictions, I watch carefully as she looks of the dimensions etc.

No-one has yet tried to guess the purpose of the yellow object from yesterday  (though I’m not giving that away).  Here is a clue:  it says Calbee on the side.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that yesterday during the intermission at the theatre all of the ushers went up and down the aisles showing people the following signBrilliant!  I want them all over Sydney too!  If you can’t guess, it says NOT to lean forward while watching the show because you will break the sightline of the person behind you. I don’t think Australians even realise how much a difference leaning forward makes! The theatre has a very steep rake (as steep as the State Dress Circle) but it is still annoying when someone in front leans forward!

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