Hamarikyu Garden (浜離宮恩賜庭園) is a special garden with a tidal pond and a chequered history, located at the mouth of the Sumida River as it enters Tokyo Bay.
Today, Hamarikyu Garden is a public park containing many interesting and unique features, including a tea house set in the middle of a tidal pond that can be reached by three sets of bridges, ancient pine trees, a peony garden, a plum tree grove and fields with flowers for every season. It is not well known to overseas visitors. I was introduced to it by a representative of the Tokyo Tourist Information Centre at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government building in 2008.
The land was reclaimed and the tidal pond was created in the Edo period by Tokugawa Tsunashige, a daimyo (feudal lord) and younger brother of Japan’s first Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu. It is surrounded by a sea moat, and water from Tokyo Bay fills and drains the tidal pond. It was originally a villa and garden, but later generations of shoguns used it as a hunting ground and for falconry. In the 18th century an elephant roamed through the grounds (a present to the shogun).
Later on, the place was used as a naval training ground. A Western style house was constructed to host foreign diplomats, and later expanded to become a state guest house after the Meiji Restoration. The Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark had stayed there, as well as a President of the USA (Ulysses Grant). The guest house was subsequently demolished, and the area was fire bombed during World War II. It was converted to a public park after the war.
I found the park interesting, because it is located right next to modern day Tokyo with gleaming skyscrapers, and yet it is so serene and still evokes the Edo period.
Shibuya is a major commercial and retail hub, but also famous for 3 things: Shibuya crossing (the world’s busiest pedestrian crossing), Hachiko the loyal dog, and Shibuya 109 (a fashion mecca for young girls).
Kamakura is a small town popular with tourists because of attractions such as the Hasedera temple located on a hill with great views of the town, the Great Buddha bronze statue and other temples and shrines.
We discovered the Sasuke Inari Shrine by accident while walking around in Kamakura. A set of bright red torii gates lead up a hill into a shrine full of statues of foxes and fox dwellings with families.
Huis Ten Bosch is a gigantic theme park in Sasebo (near Nagasaki) that is intended to be a mini version of Netherlands, including famous buildings such as the Huis Ten Bosch palace, Stadhuis and the Domtoren.
Kurashiki has a preserved canal area that dates back to the Edo Period, when the city served as an important rice distribution center. In fact, “Kurashiki” roughly translates to “town of storehouses” in reference to the rice storehouses.
Chris Tham is a co-founder of Visual Voyager Pty Ltd, the Principal Voigtländer Ambassador for Mainline Photographics and a Workshop Instructor for Mainline Photo Academy.
She brings over 35 years of experience as a photographer to her role, starting with a Yashica rangefinder belonging to her dad, joining the Photography Club in school, and developing her own photos.
More recently, Chris has been taking photos during her travels, and as a result has experienced some of the most interesting places in the world.
Chris focuses on nature, street, and urban architecture subjects in her photography.