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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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Tokyo tourism and gardens: Rikugien and Kiyosumi are exquisite gardens

Tokyo tourism and gardens: Rikugien and Kiyosumi are exquisite gardens

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is an enormous city which attracts Japanese tourists, international tourists, and business people, all year round. This ultra-modern city means many things to different people because for some it is all about modernity but to others they want to dig deep and see the rich culture of Tokyo and Japan. Of course, for others it is a mixture of both and for busy business people it may just be a flying visit because of the nature of commerce.

However, irrespective of the reason why people visit Tokyo or if you are a Tokyoite, the gardens in Tokyo provide a place to relax, to look at sunning nature, to understand aspects of Japanese culture, and more important, to escape the “madding crowd.” Therefore, the gardens of Tokyo are not only therapeutic but the richness and style is a wonder to behold because you can feel continuity, a fusion of ideas, and feel the passion of Japanese gardeners who put everything into their work in order to create a different world

Rikugien Gardens and Kiyosumi Gardens are just two of the many gardens to visit in Tokyo and both provide a different ambience. Also, both gardens are located in quiet parts of Tokyo because Komagome and Kiyosumi Shirakawa are a million miles away from the fashion orientated districts of Shibuya and Shinjuku. This aspect makes a welcome change because the pace of life is much slower but you still have many quaint shops in Komagome which cater for handcrafts, antiques, and local goods.  

Komagome is extremely close to Ikebukuro and Ueno by the Yamanote Train Line and in a way Rikugien Gardens is a perfect link. This applies to the bustling nature of fashion and commerce in Ikebukuro and the many museums located in Ueno. Also, in Ueno you will find the fashion scene in full flow and a major park which is the central theme to this lively and important part of Tokyo.

However, Komagome is a sleepy suburb but a great place to relax because of Rikugien Gardens and nearby is Kyu-Furukawa Gardens. Therefore, garden lovers have the opportunity to visit both stunning places because they are in close proximity.  

All the main gardens in Tokyo are beautifully maintained and Rikugien is extremely spacious. This enables individuals to follow the main route around the exquisite pond or to walk around more natural parts of this garden by relaxing in quiet areas. The winter period, spring season, and late autumn are most relaxing because you have no dreaded mosquitoes bothering you unlike in the height of summer whereby you need mosquito spray.

Another lovely aspect of Rikugien Gardens is that you can rest and drink delicious traditional Japanese tea and eat a scrumptious small Japanese sweet. The location of the small resting place is located near to the pond and the scenery is truly stunning. Therefore, while drinking delicious Japanese tea you can feel the spirituality of Rikugien and this simplistic pleasure creates a lovely feeling for tourists who want to feel the old Japan.

Kiyosumi Gardens is equally beautiful and to reach Kiyosumi Shirakawa you need to take either the Toei Oedo Line or Hanzomon Line. Also, in Kiyosumi Shirakawa and the surrounding area you have many museums to visit and a good guide book will enhance your visit.

In a past article about Kiyosumi Gardens by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “The Iso-Watari section is a real treat because the stepping-stone pathways lead across the pond where it is shallow. For children, it is a time of fantastic pleasure because they can enjoy playful times and be connected with nature at its best. Also, for adults, the “child inside” comes flooding back when you walk on the stepping-stone pathways and at all times you will have opportunities to see fish in the pond.”

“Inside Kiyosumi Gardens you also have stylish buildings and this applies to the Ryotei building and Taisho Kinenkan. These buildings heighten the cultural aspects and ambience of Kiyosumi Gardens. Therefore, if you enjoy photography you can combine architecture and nature together and of course each angle provides a new image to treasure.”

Kiyosumi Gardens is a place where individuals, friends, or groups touring Tokyo, can sit back and look at sublime views. Also, the little pathways by stepping stones are an enthralling feature of this exquisite garden. Given this, the pamphlet guide in different languages is most welcome because it highlights important factors about Kiyosumi Gardens.

Japanese gardens are also spiritual and philosophical and each garden may have a different angle. This applies to the fusion of the respective garden with Buddhist elements, Confucian aspects, Taoism factors or being Japan, a mixture of all and of course the role of nature in the indigenous faith of Shintoism is powerful. Given this, the background of each garden is often very intriguing because Japanese gardens connect “the self” with nature. Also, space, layout, monuments, and other aspects, are meant to transcend everyday life therefore you can clearly feel the therapeutic nature of gardens in Japan.

The entire area provides many hidden treasures and this applies to the Fukagawa Edo Museum, Basho Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Morishita Culture Center. Therefore, it is important to check respective websites to see what options are available to you when you visit this part of Tokyo.

Koto City in Tokyo highlights a different ultra-modern city by focusing on culture, art, haiku, music, history, and other rich traditions. Kiyosumi Gardens is a lovely central point to your visit and the different museums open up a new world and this applies to either tradition or the modern vibes of the Museum of Contemporary Art. 

The gardens highlighted in this article are truly beautiful therefore please visit the links provided below.

Please visit the links below for more information about the gardens highlighted

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

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kiyosumi/    Kiyosumi Gardens

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

More tourist information about places named

http://www.kcf.or.jp/fukagawa/event_list.html   Koto City Fukagawa Edo Museum

http://www.kcf.or.jp/basyo/index.html  Basho Museum

http://www.mot-art-museum.jp/eng/  Museum of Contemporary Art

http://shintomin.com/xoops/modules/chapox2/content.php?lid=12   Morishita Culture Center

ALL IMAGES FROM MODERN TOKYO TIMES

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Japan

 

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Tokyo fashion and gardens: Rikugien, Kyu-Furukawa and fashion in Omotesando

Tokyo fashion and gardens: Rikugien, Kyu-Furukawa and fashion in Omotesando

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The beauty of Tokyo is that this mega-modern city caters for various lifestyles and areas change quickly. If you adore fashion then Tokyo is an amazing city because you have a plethora of choices. Therefore, each fashion district is buzzing for different reasons and on the opposite side of the coin you have many lovely gardens to relax and enjoy stunning nature.

Omotesando is famous for high-end fashion because you have so many fabulous companies to visit.  This applies to international boutiques and Japanese boutiques. Also, the closeness to Aoyama, Harajuku and Shibuya means that this fashion area is one of the most dynamic in the world. This isn’t an overstatement, it is based on facts and the same applies to the diversity of fashion.

Therefore, in Omotesando you are on the edge of so many different styles. This applies to exquisite and elegant fashion, kawaii trends, street styles, Lolita fashion, Dolly Kei, Vintage fashion, mainstream, and a host of other styles. Also, the age range changes quickly and this all adds to a fantastic buzz and natural energy.

Grimoire is on the border of Harajuku and Shibuya and this company is extremely unique and vibrant. The same applies to many other companies like 6% DOKIDOKI and the talented designer Sebastian Masuda. Therefore, with companies like Grimoire, Candy, and 6%DOKIDOKI (Harajuku), you can feel a lovely individualistic style and other amazing boutiques have created a lovely buzz and vibrant spirit.

If you love more mainstream fashion and elegant designs by top notch boutiques then a visit to Omotesando Hills is a real treat. Inside this building of stunning architecture you have countless international and Japanese boutiques which are sublime.

This applies to stunning boutiques in Omotesando Hills which include Adore, Anterpima, Betsey Johnson, Black Fleece, Escada Sport, Tour H. creer (Merveille H.), Yves Saint Laurent, Zara, Tracy Reese, Kiwa Sylphy, iliann loeb, Milly, Tiara, Apartment Department, Martinique Le Conte, Patrizia Pepe Firenze (Incontro), Oriental News and so many others. In truth, every single boutique is a wonder to behold and the design and architecture of Omotesando Hills is a real treasure.

Therefore, if you love fashion then “think” Omotesando, Harajuku, Aoyama and Shibuya. Of course you have many fantastic fashion districts in Tokyo but this collective area is difficult to beat in any nation. After all, you can travel between each area on foot and the different trends and styles are amazing.

On the opposite side of the fashion coin in Tokyo are the many gardens which grace this amazing city. If you want a lovely contrast between vibrant and buzzing Tokyo with a more sedate and tranquil area, then Komagome is well worth visiting. This applies to lovely gardens and many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to visit alongside shops which focus on antiques and other products.

It is difficult to imagine than Komagome is so close to Ikebukuro with all its trendy fashion in yet another fashion district in Tokyo. Alternatively, it is also difficult to believe that Komagome is so close to Ueno which is blessed with so many museums and tourist places to visit. Also, fashion in Ueno is electric but in its own distinctive style and you have a more Northeast Asia feel about Ueno than the usual Tokyo vibe.

Yet in Komagome you can enjoy the stunning gardens of Rikugien and Kyu-Furukawa which is in the same area. Both gardens are kept beautiful all year round and the main walkways provide glimpses into the ethics of Japanese gardens.  Therefore, space, time, views, emotions, minimalism, and other elements, fuse naturally with aspects of Confucianism, Buddhism and Shintoism.

A real added bonus in Rikugien is that you can sit down and drink traditional Japanese tea and eat delicious Japanese sweets. At the same time, the view is amazing and you can look out and gaze at the stunning pond and see nature in all its beauty.

The pond in both gardens is the central theme but if you desire you can walk around more secluded areas. Komagome is extremely rewarding because of the therapeutic nature of both gardens. Therefore, if you want to escape the buzzing fashion districts of Tokyo or to enjoy the best of both worlds, then a visit to Komagome is essential.

The shopping district in Komagome is only small but you will find folk art stores, antiques, traditional Japanese sweets, Japanese dyed garments, ceramics, independent shops and so much more. Also, if you search around you will feel the sedate and tranquil nature of this part of Tokyo and another world will open up to you.

Kyu-Furukawa Garden is a little more natural despite the garden being well kept and while Rikugien Garden is the more famous garden, both gardens enrich each other. Not only this, the architecture of the Josiah Condor (1852-1920) Western-style residence in the Kyu-Furukawa Garden is a lovely bonus. Therefore, this building alongside the rose garden provides a lovely British and Japanese theme.

Overall, Omotesando and Komagome may seem like chalk and cheese however, this is what makes Tokyo so special. Therefore, a visit to both places will make Tokyo come alive and Tokyoites and tourists gain from both amazing places.

Please visit the  links  below for more information about both gardens

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

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

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/shops-restaurants/index.html  

Individual fashion companies

http://www.dokidoki6.com/

http://www.grimoire.jp/

http://candy-nippon.com/

Omotesando Hills

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/  

http://www.adore2005.com/

http://anteprima.com/

http://www.ap-dp.com/  

http://www.betseyjohnson.jp/

http://www.brooksbrothers.co.jp/fleece/index.html

http://www.erikonail.com/

http://www.escada.com/

http://www.iliannloeb.com/

http://eu.jimmychoo.com/en/restofworld/page/home?notify=yes

http://www.kiwasylphy.jp/

http://www.lebois.jp/  

http://www.maccosmetics.co.jp/

http://www.merveilleh.co.jp/

http://www.melrose.co.jp/martinique/index.html

http://ameblo.jp/oriental-news-omotesando/

http://www.incontro.co.jp/

http://www.melrose.co.jp/tiara/

http://www.pasdedeux.co.jp/

http://www.ysl.com/d/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

ALL FASHION IMAGES BY MODERN TOKYO TIMES

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Japan

 

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Tokyo tourism: Kiyosumi Gardens and Fukagawa Edo Museum

Tokyo tourism: Kiyosumi Gardens and Fukagawa Edo Museum

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is ultra-modern and the fashion scene is amazing throughout the capital of Japan. However, if you want to know more about Japanese culture and relax in a stunning garden then a visit to Kiyosumi Shirakawa via either the Toei Oedo Line or Hanzomon Line is most rewarding.

The stunning Kiyosumi Gardens is extremely beautiful and without a shadow of a doubt it is one of the most exquisite gardens in Tokyo. Therefore, irrespective if you are a Tokyoite or a tourist to this dynamic mega-city, you will certainly enjoy the magnificent layout and feel refreshed.

Kiyosumi Gardens is blessed with many stunning features and the autumn and spring periods are real treasures because the humidity of summer is over and the same applies to the pesky mosquitoes. This means that you can sit down and look at the exquisite surroundings, read a book, take photos, chat with friends or enjoy quality time by yourself.

The Iso-Watari section is a real treat because the stepping-stone pathways lead across the pond where it is shallow. For children, it is a time of fantastic pleasure because they can enjoy playful times and be connected with nature at its best. Also, for adults, the “child inside” comes flooding back when you walk on the stepping-stone pathways and at all times you will have opportunities to see fish in the pond.

Inside Kiyosumi Gardens you also have stylish buildings and this applies to the Ryotei building and Taisho Kinenkan. These buildings heighten the cultural aspects and ambience of Kiyosumi Gardens. Therefore, if you enjoy photography you can combine architecture and nature together and of course each angle provides a new image to treasure.

The fee to enter is only 150 yen for adults and clearly every yen is being used to maintain this stunning garden complex. Also, you will be given pamphlets in various languages in order to help non-Japanese people who can’t read this complex written language.

In truth, a visit to Kiyosumi Gardens is a must because the ethics of Japanese gardens is truly wonderful. Space, time and connecting nature with “the self” comes together naturally and while the inner vibe will depend on each individual, it is true to say that a natural change will happen within the psyche. This is because of tranquility and the exquisite nature of Kiyosumi Gardens.

Also, from a cultural point of view the entire area is rich and this applies to the Fukagawa Edo Museum, Basho Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Morishita Culture Center.

Currently at the Fukagawa Edo Museum you have a stunning collection of ukiyo-e and this applies to Ando Hiroshige and Keisai Eisen. The exhibition will finish on November 27 (2011) and it is a real treat for lovers of ukiyo-e. Also, if you want to see a glimpse of old Edo then the permanent collection of the streets of Fukagawa-Saga Town of the Tempo Period (1830-1843) is a real treat.

Koto City in Tokyo highlights a different ultra-modern city by focusing on culture, art, haiku, music, history, and other rich traditions. Kiyosumi Gardens is a lovely central point to your visit and the different museums open up a new world and this applies to either tradition or the modern vibes of the Museum of Contemporary Art.

It is pleasing to know that haiku is being preserved at the Basho Museum and they are connecting this rich tradition to children in the modern world. Also, you have a famous Basho Haiku stone in Kiyosumi Gardens. 

Overall, a visit to Kiyosumi-Shirakawa is most rewarding and for Tokyoites, then “once bitten always smitten” and for tourists it is a great place to relax and soak up Japanese culture.

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kiyosumi/  Kiyosumi Gardens

http://www.kcf.or.jp/fukagawa/event_list.html  Koto City Fukagawa Edo Museum

http://www.kcf.or.jp/basyo/index.html Basho Museum

http://www.mot-art-museum.jp/eng/ Museum of Contemporary Art

http://shintomin.com/xoops/modules/chapox2/content.php?lid=12  Morishita Culture Center

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

ALL IMAGES FROM MODERN TOKYO TIMES

 
 
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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Japan

 

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Tokyo Tourism: Rikugien Garden and Kyu-Furukawa Garden in Komagome

Tokyo Tourism: Rikugien Garden and Kyu-Furukawa Garden in Komagome

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is ultra-modern and because of the sheer size of the population and rich diversity of this superb capital city, you have endless places to visit. However, if you want to feel a more sedate side of Tokyo and enjoy beautiful gardens, then Komagome is a real treat because Rikugien Garden is very beautiful and Kyu-Furukawa Garden is within walking distance.

Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that Komagome is so close to the buzzing districts of Ikebukuro and Ueno. This applies to the slow pace of life which is in stark contrast to the intensity of life in the other two mentioned districts. However, despite the sedate nature of life in Komagome you have splendid places to visit and the area is higly desirable.

Not only this, you have many quaint shops selling pottery, antiques, clothing, and other types of goods. Also, you have beautiful Buddhist temples and a genuine feel of a refined Tokyo where the old culture survives and not only in images. This in itself is a lovely contrast to the mega fashion districts of Tokyo and the commercial heartland.

The gardens in Komagome are very beautiful all year round and both gardens have their own style and unique feel. Rikugien is a stunning garden which is extremely well cared for and away from the main walkway you have areas which are relatively quiet even during a busy day.   

Another added bonus of Rikugien is that you can drink traditional Japanese tea and eat a small Japanese sweet while being surrounded by stunning nature. This is most rewarding because the lovely taste of traditional Japanese tea matches the serenity and stunning views which are provided by this exquisite garden.

During your visit to Rikugien you will notice many gardeners who care deeply about their work and because of their professionalism and focus on detail, the visitor is blessed by the ethical aspects of the garden. This applies to space, time, minimalism and fusing the world of nature within the concepts of Japanese culture and ethics.

The walk around the pond is very therapeutic and uplifting and if you desire to escape and venture into a more wild area of the garden, then the choice is open to you. The contrast of both areas fuses well together and the feeling of serenity is very refreshing.

On leaving Rikugien Garden it is well worth browsing around the small shopping area because Komagome is also a treasure by itself. The shopping district is only small but you will find folk art stores, antiques, traditional Japanese sweets, Japanese dyed garments, ceramics, independent shops and so much more. 

Another stunning garden to visit in the same district is Kyu-Furukawa Garden and despite the rose garden section, this garden is more natural. This applies to the more wild nature of the garden whereby nature often dictates over human interference.

Of course gardeners maintain the garden and have reshaped many aspects but you still have the feeling that nature is more natural in contrast to the ethical aspects of Rikugien. The pond and the garden appear smaller in size compared with Rikugien but the contrasting feel compliments both gardens and you have a nice ambient feel in Kyu-Furukawa.

Josiah Condor (1852-1920) designed the Western-style residence in the garden and this feature creates a distinctive environment. This fine building blends together a nice English and Japanese theme and Kyu-Furukawa gains from the creativity of Josiah Condor.

Irrespective if you are a Tokyoite or a tourist, it is clear that Komagome should be high on your list if you adore gardens and culture.

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

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

Please visit the above links for more information about both gardens

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 
 
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Posted by on October 26, 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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Shinjuku: vibrant architecture, exquisite department stores and lovely gardens

Shinjuku: vibrant architecture, exquisite department stores and lovely gardens

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The ultra-modern Skyscrapers in Shinjuku are a stark reminder of the economic power that emerged in Japan from the 1960s onwards until the bubble economy of the last twenty years.  However, in Tokyo it is hard to imagine that Japan’s economy keeps on going from small economic growth to stagnation and back to minor growth.

Therefore, when you arrive in Tokyo or if you are a Tokyoite it is abundantly clear that this city is dynamic and the environment is based on modernity, high octane shopping and despite the huge numbers of people the city keeps on ticking.

Amidst all the modernization are gems which remind you of the past and this is especially applicable to architecture, Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.  Also, the stunning gardens are often linked to a rich history because each exquisite garden will have its own history and special factor behind the refined layout.

The huge skyscrapers in Shinjuku are amazing and the ultra-modern architecture is visually pleasing.  When I first visited Shinjuku I could imagine Blade Runner and this part of Tokyo made London and Manchester seem miniscule when it came to power and size.

Also, the shopping complexes are huge and you have many top notch fashion companies and department stores and the quality is exquisite in the upmarket part of Shinjuku.  Therefore, each different department store must compete and create its own image because the market is very competitive and the changing nature of fashion, thinking and lifestyles, means that department stores need to stay a few steps ahead.

Major department stores in Shinjuku and Nishi Shinjuku include Isetan, Keio, Lumine, Marui, Mitsukoshi ALCOTT, Odakyu, Takashimaya and Mylord.  Each department store provides quality of the highest and the service is second to none in the world and Japan is famous for this.  Therefore, you are certainly spoilt for choice in Shinjuku if you like exquisite shopping and of course you have so many different styles of shops and the area changes quickly and caters for a huge variety of goods.

It is unfair to pick any one individual company because they all have a wide selection of brands and I am more familiar with Lumine but also visit Odakyu and Keio often and my visit to Takashimaya was very pleasurable.  Also, I know that Isetan is widely liked throughout Japan and Mitsukoshi, despite setbacks in Ikebukuro after closing their store, is very different in places like Shinjuku, Nihonbashi and Ebisu. In truth, Ikebukuro clashed too much with the nature of Mitsukoshi and this department store is vibrant in Shinjuku. 

The Mylord complex is also a great place to relax and it is affiliated with Odakyu and during my early time in Tokyo it was my main place for hanging out in Shinjuku.

Marui One will appeal to fashion lovers because of the sheer diverse nature of this department store which caters for a whole spectrum of fashion.  This applies to catering for Tokyo fashion, fantasy fashion, modern kimono, princess fashion, casual styles, romantic designs, unique styles, Visual kei, Gothic, Lolita and dreamy fashion. 

Shinjuku train station is the busiest in the world and clearly you can imagine from this fact alone that central areas are awash with people.  Therefore, Shinjuku Gyoen is a welcome place to visit in order to escape the madding crowds, to take a welcome break from shopping or to visit only this part of Shinjuku. After all, the gardens are extremely beautiful and varied within Shinjuku Gyoen and I often just visit the gardens and have a quiet coffee and then return to more sedate parts of Tokyo.

Shinjuku Gyoen in history was an imperial garden but this changed after World War Two and it became a national garden with pre-eminence in Tokyo because of its prime location and the garden size is very large.

Within Shinjuku Gyoen you have three diverse styles and this applies to English landscape, French formal and traditional Japanese.  These distinct styles mix delightfully and the traditional Japanese tea house is an elegant feature within the gardens.

The whole park is a great place to relax and witness many stunning views and the ponds express the natural beauty in more detail.  Also, the three different garden styles mingle well within the whole complex and the pond areas are delightful and will lift up the spirits of all who view the natural beauty on display. 

The sheer size of Shinjuku Gyoen also means that you have many quiet areas and you can block out all the stresses of life.  Or if life is already going great then you will feel even better because you can spend hours by yourself or with friends and just enjoy your special day in such sublime and lovely surroundings. 

Overall, Shinjuku is full of energy and for tourists it is a must place to visit and the nightlife is very vibrant.

 

http://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english/index.html Shinjuku Gyoen

http://tokyofashion.com/photos/?location=Shinjuku Fashion photos 

http://maruione.jp/en/ Marui Online Shop

http://www.takashimaya.co.jp/shinjuku/store_information/ Takashimaya

http://info.keionet.com/foreign/index.html Keio Department Store

http://www.odakyu.jp/english/sightsee/shinjuku/index.html Odakyu Department Store and Tourist Information

http://www.lumine.ne.jp/shinjuku/ Lumine 

http://www.shinjuku-mylord.com/ Mylord

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3011.html   Information about Shinjuku

http://www.isetan.co.jp/icm2/jsp/store/shinjuku/info/iclub/index.jsp Isetan

http://moderntokyotimes.com (please visit)

 
 
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Posted by on June 14, 2011 in Japan

 

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