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The Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens

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A green oasis floating atop the murky waters of Tokyo Bay, the Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens will transport you to the days of the Shogun, as long as you manage to keep your eyes focused on the duck ponds and cherry trees, instead of the impenetrable row of skyscrapers on the horizon.

Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens

In 1654, the swamp which had occupied this space was filled in to create the private residence of the Shogun’s brother, Matsudaira Tsunashige. With its multiple tidal ponds, the land would become the duck-hunting grounds of the ruling class, and was eventually opened to the public as a park in 1946. Throughout its history, Hamarikyo has managed to avoid the urban expansion that’s transformed the rest of Tokyo.

We visited on a chilly morning in March, too early for cherry blossoms, but just in time for the fragrant yellow blooms of the rapeseed field. With wooden bridges spanning the small ponds, ducks bobbing sleepily on the water, and quaint tea houses serving matcha (powdered green tea) to weary walkers, it’s hard not to enjoy the gardens. Even the ill-fitting backdrop of Shiodome’s gargantuan steel skyscrapers somehow underline the beauty of Hamarikyo.

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Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens
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March 20, 2014 at 6:20 am
4 comments »
  • March 20, 2014 at 9:51 pmSara

    Howie & I visited here on our trip. Fun to see how much more is in bloom. Everything was still brown or barely budding when we were there at the beginning of February.

  • March 23, 2014 at 11:49 pmNot Hemingway’s Spain

    Wow! If that crowd of amateur photographers for the rapeseed is any indication, I can only imagine the paparazzi cherry blossoms are going to provoke. Though now I’m thinking I should pack my tripod, since iit seems to be socially acceptable to set up shop with one for photos.

    • March 24, 2014 at 12:00 amJuergen Horn

      Funny thing is, I always see tripods being set up but they are never in use. I wouldn’t bother to bring a tripod for the blossoms but night pics of Tokyo, that’s a whole different story :).


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The Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens A green oasis floating atop the murky waters of Tokyo Bay, the Hamarikyu Detached Palace Gardens will transport you to the days of the Shogun, as long as you manage to keep your eyes focused on the duck ponds and cherry trees, instead of the impenetrable row of skyscrapers on the horizon.
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