Tokyo – peaceful gardens

Posted by jerry on February 3rd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Travel

One of the surprising things about Tokyo is how easy it is to get away from the hustle and bustle of 12 million people. You can walk along the Sumida Gawa canal and check out the canal boats

Tokyo - canal

But when you see the water, it’s actually not too inviting!

Far better to find one of the many restful parks, like Shiba-Koen park not far from Tokyo Tower. This is just up the road from a wonderful street full of small noodle houses – so you can buy a tasty snack and eat it in the park. But follow the local practice and find a bin for the rubbish.

Tokyo - Shiba park

Tokyo - Shiba park

If this is winter – imagine what it will be like in Spring – Cherry-blossom weather!

As if this were not enough, just nearby was a working Buddhist temple – Zojoji Temple gardens are just the place for some quiet contemplation or a prayer whatever your faith. It is calming simply to walk through this delightful garden. Zojoji Temple is he main temple of the Jodo (pure land) Buddhist sect originally founded in 1393. Zojoji was founded as an orthodox and fundamental nembutsu seminary for Jodo-shu in the Kanto (east Japan) region. It moved its main site to Tokyo in 1598, and has been here ever since.
Tokyo - temple garden

The Himalayan cedar tree just inside the gate was planted by General Grant, 18th President of the United States, when he visited Zojoji Temple as a national guest in 1879 – according to a small sign next to the tree. Interestingly, though, there seemed to have been some confusion over the year, as this was affixed separately over what was written beneath.

Tokyo - temple garden

The tree now towers over the Sanmon gate house which was built in 1605. It is constructed in the Chinese Tang Dynasty style  and is a rare example of early Edo-period architecture.

People have built all manner of shrines over the years, but one really caught my eye – It comprised about a hundred stone effigees about two feet tall, each with its personal crocheted hat and tiny clothes. The statues are of jizobosatusu, the protector of the souls of still-born children. Mothers of still-born children often dedicate an image of the deity and decorate it with baby clothes and toys.
Tokyo - temple garden

Here’s one close up

Tokyo - temple garden

And the Daibonsho bell is quite a sight. It was completed in 1673, and has a diameter of 1.76 metres, a height of 3.33 metres and weighs 15 tonnes. It is noted as one of the Big Three bells of the Edo period.

Tokyo - temple garden

This was a wonderful place to conclude my all-too-brief stay in Tokyo.


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.