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Uploadet 15. december 2018

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tæt på Uchisaiwaichō, Tokyo (Japan)

Visited on September 9, 2018. After I had an half hour walk at Hibiya Park I moved to Arisugawa-no-Miya Memorial Park by taking Tokyo Metro Subway Hibiya Line. From Hibiya Park you have two metro stations for Hiroo closest metro station to Arisugawa-no-Miya Memorial Park, an urban oasis for foreign residents and visitors to the embassies nearby. One is Hibiya Station from which I enter the park. I tried another station Kasumigaseki shared by Hibiya, Chiyoda and Marunouchi Lines. I entered the metro hallway from B2 Exit of Marunouchi Line. To get to Hibiya Line station you need to walk another few minutes. Take the train bound for Nakameguro (中目黒). From Hiroo Station it is not difficult to find a park. The area is also shopping and dining area for oversea visitors and foreign residents.

This is the first visit to this park since 1987 when I was still a university Student. I often visited this park for Tokyo Metropolitan Library. I sometimes ventured to the valley and pond area of the park. During mid 80s the park garden had been a bit ruined and the creek had little running water. Arch stone bridge stood over the fallen leaves. The park might have gone through some modification possibly after 2011 Tohoku earthquake damage. Running water, and creek are back giving the garden just the way it should be.

The park has a nice Japanese garden and lots of paths fit for pensive walking. Most of the park visitors are clustered around the pond area and the plazas near the Tokyo Metropolitan Library. But the northern part of the park far from the library is really quiet and you may find almost no one at this section. The garden has nice bridges varied in styles, such as zigzag bridges which are often referred to as Yatsuhashi, and you can also enjoy the view of the garden from the half-circle arch opening of the stone bridge. Just as the other landscape gardens in Tokyo the garden is a good example of incorporating the natural elevation gap.
The trail starts from the middle section of Hibiya Park. At this area close to Matsumotoro Restaurant, Event Square with Fountain and Haniwa Clay Figurines, the large scale events are often held on weekends. The most popular of which is Oktoberfest during summer time. Otherwise the park is oasis for business people. it is mostly the place for business people to relax or entertain the visitors from overseas or even to have business chat with them.
Kumogata-ike Pond is one of the three ponds in the park and the area is also the place where original park design is nearly kept intact. The main feature of the pond is its crane foutain the third oldest fountain in Japan. The pond area has a wisteria terrace which is a nice place for a rest. When the pond was cleaned up in 2017, an old roof tile used for Saga Clan Samurai residence was found.
Kasumi Gate is the entrance to the southwestern part of the park, adjacent to Kasumigaseki District where major government offices are located. It is close to Kasumigaseki Station of Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line.
Near the Kasumi Gate, there is an entrance B2 of Kasumigaseki Station of Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Station.
Kasumigaseki Station of Marunouchi Line and that of Hibiya Line is approximately 200 meters apart. Follow the direction as shown in the photo and walk toward it. Take the train bound for NAKAMEGURO at Platform #3.
Hiroo Station is the closest station to Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park. Hiroo is also known to the expat district where a lot of oversea residents reside. The area has the international atmosphere. To get to the part get out from Exit #1.
When you get out from Exit 1 you will soon get to the intersection named Hiroobashi (広尾橋). Turn left to get to the park.
After walking for a few minutes you will get to the T intersention. Walk along the leftward road and toward the greenery area.
Hiroo Entrance of the park is the lowest place of the park. From this corner, you will see two slopes NANBUZAKA SLOPE (南部坂)on the right side and KINOSHITAZAKA on the left side. There is an information map of the park with English description attached. According to this this area used to be the estate of Lord of Nambu, Magistrate of Mino Province during Edo period during early 17th to late 19th century. It became the property of Arisugawa-no-Miya family one of the main lineage of Imperial Family in 1896. It was bequeathed to Tokyo Metropolitan Government and was opened to public as a park in 1934. The park was changed from Metropolitan to Municipal park of Minato City in 1975.
Right after you enter the park from Hiroo entrance you will see a pond with two tiny islets and you will also see the Kotoji lantern similarly styled as that of Kenrokuen Garden in Kanazawa at the far end of the pond. There are two routes from the pond shore. Right pathway is the one directing to the Tokyo Metropolitan Library and the leftward pathway along the west shore of the pond and the creek. I chose the left pathway.
As it was formerly the samurai residence, there was a earthwork between the park and the Kinoshitazaka Slope. There is a pathway on the earthwork for viewing the pond from the higher ground.
The view of the pond and the larger zigzag bridge.
Stone Buddha Statues, we often call jizos are often clad with aprons or head gears for winter. You can find such small stone buddhas on the trail close to the Kinoshita Slope. I guess someone close to the park changes clothes for the jizos as if the babies of their own. Such baby-like stone buddhas are also called WARABE-JIZO. Such stone buddhas are often set up in memory of lost children who died in accidents, illness or died before they were born.
The pathway along the earthwork of former Samurai residence during Edo Period (1603-1868) ends in the midway of Kinoshita slope side of the park. When walking down you will find an arch bridge.
This is an amazing stone bridge excellently striking balance between beauty and sturdiness. Usually this type of bridge has semi-circle opening under the stone bridge. The bridge added two minor semi-circle openings to give more strength to the bridge. For the most part stone bridges in Japanese gardens are ornamental rather than for practicality. But this one can be applied to larger ones. According to Yasuhiko Maejima who wrote about this park in 1983 this stone bridge was called Taikobashi and it was one of the main attractions of the park when it was opened to public in 1934. Now the running water of the creek returned the bridge is still an instagrammable object.
In this park garden there are two zigzag bridges, this is the minor of the two. Such zigzag bridge is one of the main features of Japanese garden. It is often referred to Yatsuhashi based on the legend and poem of Heian era tanka poet Ariwara-no-Narihira more than 1,200 years ago. Yatsuhashi was originally made up of eight plates joined in zigzag manner but later on zigzag bridges with less plates are called this way.
The waterfall emanates from the natural spring. It is a very small waterfall. This is one of the two waterfalls in this park.
There are six bridges crossing the pond and creek of this park and five of them are made of Faux Bois (rocailleurs), reinforced concrete that is styled to look like wood. This bridge crosses over the upper part of the valley where spring water is emanating.
After I crossed the uppermost bridge I turned right to walk in the woods. Shortly there is a T intersection. I paused for a moment whether I go up or down. I then decided to turn right and went upward.
After I went up steep path I was lured into the plaza where no souls were around. This densely wooded place was really quiet and relaxing.
As I got closer to Tokyo Metropolitan Library building I found another plaza at the back of the monument. It has the more deserted look than the larger plaza beyond the monument.
Right beside the monument there is a small outdoor stage for the event. And there is a larger plaza where children are playing.
The plaza right behind the Tokyo Metropolitan Library with a small outdoor stage is the largest of the three plazas in this park. There is a children's playground adjacent to the plaza. As you can see the children playing there might not be Japanese. Right there you can even meet the visitors/residents from the same nationality. At the end of the larger plaza near the park administrative office building there is a statue of Prince Arisugawa Takehito former owner of the park area.
During 1950s newspaper deliveries had been done mainly by elementary and junior high school boys. In 1958 Japan Newspaper Delivery Association and other related groups started to build statues of delivery boys to thank and encourage them. The statue in Arisugawa-no-miya Park is one of the earliest of such statues. It was carved by Kyoko Asakura, a daughter of renowned Japanese sculptor Fumio Asakura.
This is the only children's playground in this park where there are swings, sandbox for small children. In this place you will hear the children speaking various languages.
Near the park administrative office there is a nice clock tower that can be a nice place to get together.
The statue is in the middle of picnic area called Dango-yama (literally dumpling hill). The statue was sculpted by Yasutake Funakoshi known by a lot of works such as "the Relief Monument of 26 Martyrs" in Nagasaki and "The statue of Lady Tatsuko" at Lake Tazawa.
This area is a nice place for a picnic and is a good place for viewing cherry blossoms during early April.
At the northeastern corner of the park close to the library you can see the base stones of the old building. The level hilltop area used to have the resident houses before the park was opened to public.
This Metropolitan Library opened in 1973 is one of the largest public library in Japan with more than 1.8 million books. While this library is open to public even to people outside Minato ward or Tokyo Metropolis, borrowing the books from this library is not available.
Entrance Gate for Library users.
Entrance Gate for Green Space mainly used for picnic at the east of the library
This gate is supposed to be the Main Gate of the Park. Most of the park visitors, however, enters the park from Hiroo Gate.
The trail going down from the children's playground to the pond is a nice trail with sasa bamboo, hedges and azaleas.
The down trail near the Nambuzaka Trail is lined with hedges (possibly Camellia sasanqua) and some resting place to relax.
Now getting down to pond area, from this point you can have a closer look at Kotoji Lantern. Close to the lantern is the minor of the two islands in the pond.
Kotoji Lantern is a kind of the snow-viewing lanterns and the most popular one can be seen in Kenroku-en Garden in Kanazawa. As most of the snow-viewing lanterns in Tokyo gardens are extra large and stocky to show off the garden owner's wealth, the park's Kotoji lantern is sigh of relief.
Now back to Hiroo Station. The closest Yamanote Line station from Hiroo is Ebisu known for Ebisu Garden Place. Take the train bound for Nakameguro again.
Ebisu Station is one of the railway stations of JR Yamanote Line. Trains departing from #1 platform are bound for Shibuya, Harajuku, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro while those from #1 platform are for Shinagawa, Shimbashi, Tokyo and Ueno. From Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Ebisu Station you will have to walk a little to get to JR Ebisu Station.

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