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Tokyo tourism: Chinzan-so garden, delicious food and rich in culture

Tokyo tourism: Chinzan-so garden, delicious food and rich in culture

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Chinzan-so is a stunning garden in Tokyo whereby you can view the natural beauty of an amazing Japanese garden, beautiful architecture, elements of Buddhism, the magical world of Shintoism, and so much more. Also, unlike the vast majority of stunning gardens in Tokyo which close early this doesn’t apply to Chinzan-so therefore at night the garden is also extremely beautiful and you have many restaurants to eat scrumptious Japanese food. However, being Chinzan-so, then even the restaurants blend in with the natural environment and clearly this beautiful place would bless any major city in the world.

The natural beauty of Chinzan-so is so refreshing because not only can you connect with stunning nature but also this garden is rich in culture and history. The stunning pagoda and aspects of Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, and the sacred 500 year old tree, also highlights the exquisite nature of Chinzan-so.

Luxury can also be found at (http://www.fourseasons.com/tokyo/the Four Seasons Hotel which can be found throughout the amazing city of Tokyo and internationally. The Four Seasons Hotel highlighted in this article applies to the hotel which is located in the same Chinzan-so area. Therefore, if you adore luxury, architecture, the backdrop of an amazing garden and so much more; then the sublime Four Seasons Hotelfused with your stay in Tokyo and the richness of Chinzan-so garden is an amazing break which will stay long in the memory.

Chinzan-so is like walking into the past and into a magical world where you can imagine the amazing animation film called “Spirited Away” by Hayao Miyazaki. This applies to the stone deities, aspects of Buddhism, small Shinto shrine, and famous religious tree. Therefore, the spiritual nature of Chinzan-so is a welcome dimension and at night if you have an “over imagination,” then you can feel the mystery of the old world which is also highlighted in the animation film called “Spirited Away.”

This stunning garden enables people to feel the hidden magic of the Edo period and the changing times of Japan in the Meiji period. Also, it is clear that the opulent wealth of the elites in the past developed this splendid garden and they did so with an eye on culture and aesthetics.

Prince Aritomo Yamagata built his magnificent mansion where modern Chinzan-so stands but of course modifications have been made. The name Chinzan-so means “House of Camellia” therefore you will find many types of camellia throughout this exquisite and stunning garden.

In a past article about Chinzan-so by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “The prestige of Prince Aritomo Yamagata and his importance and how Chinzan-so is viewed can be judged by the fact that the Emperor Meiji held many important meetings in this place, in order to plan the future with dignitaries who held important seats of power.  Therefore, it is abundantly clear that the stunning environment, remote settings where seclusion could be found from prying eyes and the cultural aspect of Chinzan-so meant that it was an ideal setting.”

 

“Much of the historical legacy today which can be viewed must be credited to Baron Heitaro Fujita because he utilized the stunning grounds and topography.  This applies to adding important historical monuments and many of these came from Kyoto and Toba. However, the stunning pagoda which is very beautiful was relocated from Hiroshima.”

Therefore, the historical legacy and richness of culture is abundantly obvious because Baron Heitaro Fujita utilized every positive aspect of Chinzan-so and today Tokyoites and tourists can witness many intriguing aspects of Japanese culture. Also, from a religious and philosophical point of view the Taoist images from ancient China fuses naturally with aspects of Buddhism and Shintoism. These images and the numerous stone lanterns are a wonder to behold and the delightful pond, exquisite pagoda, images of Taoism and Buddhism, small Shinto shrine, a sacred 500 year old tree, waterfall, and the stunning layout of the garden means that Chinzan-so is very special.

Throughout the grounds you also have many restaurants to visit and for tourists and Tokyoites you can enjoy not only the natural beauty of Chinzan-so, but you can also eat scrumptious food. This applies to “Kinsui”which is a traditional restaurant which is famous for the kaiseki cuisine; “Mokushundo” where they provide delicious Japanese box lunches, fondue, and barbecue; “Chuu-an” restaurant serves up Edomae sushi and other delicious food; and “Mucha-an” restaurant provides delicious food and is known for their delicious Japanese soba.

The beauty of all these restaurants is that they blend in naturally within the stunning grounds of Chinzan-so. Therefore, the dining experience is a real treasure because not only can you eat extremely delicious food, but the backdrop of the stunning scenery is really special. Not surprisingly, all these restaurants are of the highest quality and cater for different styles of Japanese food.

Also, you have a firmly established restaurant called “Camellia” in this stunning environment and this dining place is famous for its French cuisine. This restaurant is rich in history because for more than 50 years it remains highly acclaimed based on the mouth-watering food which is provided.  The view is also extremely majestic and the setting is spacious. Therefore, if you are a connoisseur of scrumptious French cuisine then restaurant “Camellia” will certainly please you.

Within the main hotel complex overlooking Chinzan-so you have “Café Foresta” which is very spacious and a great place to relax and drink tea, coffee, and other choices, and to eat a delicious cake and so forth “Café Foresta” also provides amazing views of Chinzan-so if you are lucky enough to find a place by the enormous windows. At night, the view is fantastic because of the lights which highlight the beautiful pagoda and other special areas.

Chinzan-so is a must place to visit in Tokyo because of everything highlighted in this article and so much more.

http://www.chinzanso.com/english/restaurant.html

http://www.fourseasons.com/tokyo/ Four Seasons Hotel

http://www.chinzanso.com/english/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

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Posted by on February 11, 2012 in Japan

 

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Japanese Green Tea Ceremony and culture

Japanese Green Tea Ceremony and culture

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Japanese green tea ceremony dates back to the ninth century but modifications and reasons behind its popularity have changed.  Matcha, powdered green tea, is served based on certain rites and the ritual nature is a vital element alongside simplicity, silence, and a spiritual feel.  The spiritual angle comes from Zen Buddhism which influenced the tea ceremony.

Otemae is the performance name for this ritual and today it is a popular pastime where many individuals learn the skills of ritual, elegance and to perfect the way of this cultural aspect of Japanese culture.  The ceremony itself is called chanoyu or chado (also pronounced sado) and in the early period Zen Buddhism would have enabled a strong inner feeling while enjoying the taste.

Chakai and chaji are the two different classifications for tea gatherings. Chakai is more common because it is used for hospitality and some Japanese gardens perform this for visitors.  For example, in Rikugien Garden in Komagome in Tokyo you have a small resting place by the pond and tourists and visitors to the garden can enjoy Chakai.

The green tea in Rikugien Garden in Komagome tastes delicious and a small Japanese sweet is served with the green tea. However, because of the splendid nature of this garden you can feel the spiritual connection and this simplistic pleasure fuses well with the senses. 

Chaji is very different and can take around four hours or more because this is based on kaiseki which is a full –course meal. If you have never experienced this then it is well worth it because the mixture of elegance, food preparation, motion, taste, thick tea, thin tea, and the ethical side of this all fuses together. 

In Chinzan-so, located in Tokyo, this majestic garden also highlights not only the beauty of this stunning and sophisticated garden but the religious angle is also very important.  Within this garden you have many places to enjoy scrumptious food and you can also experience kaiseki at its very best.

This applies to nature, food, culture, ritual, and a stunning backdrop because of the scenery coming together. “Kinsui” is a traditional restaurant and is located in a delightful area and the kaiseki cuisine is sure to please alongside other genuine and delicious Japanese dishes.  Also, you have a casual dining area located in “Kinsui” called “Hanaguruma” and this restaurant is also a great place to eat and relax.

Ledia Runnels comments that “In the 9th century, Chinese author Lu Yu wrote The Classic of Tea, that focused on the cultivation and preparation of tea. Lu Yu’s life was influenced by the Zen Buddhism school of Zen–Chán. Needless to say, his ideas had a strong influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony.”

“In the 9th century, tea was brought to Japan by the Buddhist monk Eichū, who had visited China and brought tea seeds back with him…..It was near the 12th century when the style of tea preparation called “tencha” became popular. In this ceremony, matcha was placed in a bowl with hot water poured over it. The water and ground tea were then whipped together.”

“By the 13th century, the Kamakura Shogunate, the ruling class of samurai warriors, used tea as a kind of status symbol…..During the Muromachi Period, that centered around the gorgeous cultural world of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the formation of what was to become the traditional Japanese culture of today came to be, where the Japanese tea ceremony evolves to aesthetic practice of “Wabi-sabi.” “Wabi” represents the inner, or spiritual, experiences. “Sabi” represents the outer, or material of life. By the 16th century, tea drinking had spread to all levels of society in Japan.”

Therefore, today in modern Japan the tea ceremony is used for a variety of situations but the old deeper meaning still exists within special environments.  Also, just like the Kamakura period the tea ceremony does belong within high culture. This applies to special settings where the inner values of the tea ceremony and the ritual nature of this are still very powerful.

The simplistic form of chakai is more common and tourists to Japan will often experience this. In special places in Tokyo, like Rikugien Garden in Komagome, even chakai feels spiritual and cultural because of the scenery in this exquisite garden.  

http://lediarunnels27221219.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/green-tea-ceremony-japan/

Please visit Mysterious Japan at http://lediarunnels27221219.wordpress.com/  and read fascinating articles by Ledia Runnels

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/02/24/rikugien-garden-in-komagome-is-a-fine-place-to-relax-in-tokyo/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/06/23/tokyo-chinzan-so-garden-and-exquisite-restaurants/

http://www.chinzanso.com/english/restaurant.html   

http://www.chinzanso.com/english/

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/rikugien/index.html

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kyu-furukawa/

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Japan

 

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Tokyo: Chinzan-so garden and exquisite restaurants

Tokyo: Chinzan-so garden and exquisite restaurants  

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Chinzan-so Garden is not only visually stunning but the unique surroundings and history of this garden means that it is not only a highly desirable tourist attraction, but it is a fantastic place to enjoy the splendid restaurants and to stay at a lovely hotel in this lovely part of Tokyo.

The history of Chinzan-so is fascinating because you have many historic remains and you feel like you are entering a different world.  This applies to the pre-Meiji period and the Meiji period when Japan developed rapidly. However, in Chinzan-so this is where history makers enjoyed the opulent wealth and natural beauty of this exquisite garden. Therefore, it is clear that old Japan survived in Tokyo within highly cultural places like Chinzan-so.

The well-known statesman in the early Meiji period, Prince Aritomo Yamagata, built his splendid mansion and the name Chinzan-so means “House of Camellia.” Obviously the name refers to the many types of camellia in this exquisite and historical garden.

The prestige of Prince Aritomo Yamagata and his importance and how Chinzan-so is viewed can be seen by the fact that the Emperor Meiji held many important meetings, in order to plan the future with dignitaries who held important seats of power.  Therefore, it is abundantly clear that the stunning environment, remote settings where seclusion could be found from prying eyes and the cultural aspect of Chinzan-so meant that it was an ideal setting.

Much of the historical legacy today which can be viewed must be credited to Baron Heitaro Fujita because he utilized the stunning grounds and topography.  This applies to adding important historical monuments and many of these came from Kyoto and Toba. However, the stunning pagoda which is very beautiful was relocated from Hiroshima.

Throughout your visit to Chinzan-so garden you will see many Taoist images and being Japan you will also see many Buddhist images because religious and philosophical fusions go hand in hand along with Shintoism.  These images and the numerous stone lanterns add to the charm and mystery of Chinzan-so.  The settings of this garden with the quaint pond, stunning pagoda, waterfall, lanterns, and images of Taoism and Buddhism, all adds to the exquisite nature of this lovely garden.

You also have a sacred 500 year old tree and Chinzan-so is clearly not just a garden because it is a place full of history and splendor.

Chinzan-so is also a great place to enjoy scrumptious food and enjoy the lovely surroundings.  “Kinsui” is a traditional restaurant and is located in a delightful area and the kaiseki cuisine is sure to please alongside other genuine and delicious Japanese dishes.  Also, you have a casual dining area located in “Kinsui” called “Hanaguruma” and this restaurant is also a great place to eat and relax.

“Mokushundo” is another fabulous place to eat fondue, traditional box lunches and barbecue which is cooked in a traditional Japanese style.  “Mokushundo” is five dining rooms which are detached and the tranquil and blissful garden setting means that you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

“Chuu-an” restaurant is also set in amazing surroundings and the backdrop of the pond amidst the stunning view means that luxury and the scrumptious Edomae sushi is a rare treasure.  Indeed, the food quality on offer is extremely delicious and this is matched by stunning beauty and you certainly feel like you have entered another world.

If you really like Japanese soba then you will clearly enjoy “Mucha-an” restaurant. This applies to the unique “Kaiseki” taste with scrumptious soba noodles.  Again, your walk to this restaurant is so pleasing and for Japanese soba noodle lovers then it is a most enjoyable place to eat.

Restaurant “Camellia” is famous for its French cuisine and for over 50 years this top notch restaurant continues to win acclaim.  The view is majestic and more spacious and if you are a connoisseur of the best of French cuisine then restaurant “Camellia” is the right place to visit and to enjoy sublime food.

“Café Foresta” is very relaxing and also the setting is very spacious and if you are lucky to sit by the window then you can see the stunning pagoda.  This café provides delicious cakes, sandwiches and you have a nice choice of coffee and tea.  It is a lovely place to relax and to enjoy your stay in Chinzan-so and adds to the variety of choice.

http://www.chinzanso.com/english/restaurant.html  

http://www.chinzanso.com/english/

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

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Posted by on June 23, 2011 in Japan

 

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