Monday, August 26, 2019

Kyu-Furukawa part two, the Japanese stroll garden and tea house, 5th May 2019

After exploring the quite amazing collection of roses planted on the terraces of the formal garden surrounding the house at Kyu-Furukawa we walked down a flight of steps into a wonderful shady Japanese stroll garden. Tokyo is so built up that normally you never notice hills or slopes but in this garden you really drop down a pronounced slope from the house to find a pond shaped like the Kanji character for heart surrounded by trees and shrubs. Then off to one side in a fenced of glade there is a tea garden and tea house where for a few extra yen we could enjoy a bowl of matcha and some Japanese sweets.

Kyu-Furukawa part one, an English rose garden in central Tokyo, 5th May 2019

A couple of km North of Ueno in built up Tokyo nestling on a hillside just off a busy street there is an oasis of green in two parts. Higher up the slope there is an English style country house with a formal rose garden built around 1917 and designed by Josiah Conder . Below that in a tree filled glade and surrounding a pond is a Japanese style stroll garden and a smaller tea house garden.
Firstly some photos of the house and rose garden, it was very popular with Japanese visitors, rather strangely given it's western appearance there was no English language guide leaflet available.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Hiyoriyama Park, Ishinomaki, in the rain on the first day of Reiwa 1st May 2019

In 2013 on my first visit to Miyagi prefecture my friends Mayumi and Yusuke took me by car to a hilltop park in Ishinomaki to find some sakura trees that were in bloom. Hiroriyama park offered views both inland through the estuary and out to sea across the flat coastline area. Both areas had been devastated by the 2011 tsunami and just two years later there was a lot of empty space  where buildings had once stood and some signs of the damage were clearly evident. Another six years later on the first day of the new Reiwa era it was nice to be able to return to the park , this time walking and in the rain. The sakura were once again blooming and in spite of the mist, rain and low cloud the views were still impressive.

 On the walk up looking back towards the town there were impressive views of the estuary

Just as we reached the park the sakura were still  in bloom

 The next three photos are of a viewing spot in the park looking at the estuary.
There is a large photograph mounted on the fence showing the scene before the tsunami which you can compare with my photo taken on day one of Reiwa more than 8 years after the tsunami crashed up the valley from the sea.

The main park area with Sakura in bloom 

The view seawards  

The torii gate that  marks the place where the pathway to the hilltop shrine crosses the ridge from the seashore below.

Another viewing spot looking out to sea showing a photo from before the tsunami 
the coast area is very flat and was quite industrial prior to being severely damaged in the disaster.

Huts selling refreshments and manga character masks.

In addition to manga Ishinomaki is also famous for being visited by the haiku poet Basho

A few more views

Descending back towards the town centre, a large cemetery is visible on the hillside opposite.