Rikugien Gardens: 六義園

Today was my midterm for the ILP, so as a way to treat me for all my recent studying, Nicky came from Hamadayama to treat me to Mos Burger. After lunch, we decided to go find the post office, as Nicky needed to mail a letter and a health charm to her grandfather, who is going in for heart surgery next week. At the mini-post office, I found some awesome Genji stamps, so bought a set to put into my Puri-kura book.

As we started to head back towards the main drag of town, I happened to notice a sign promoting the Rikugien Garden. It was in Sugamo, so I was interested in going, but it was Nicky who actually read the map and realized how close it actually was. Since the day was still young, we decided to make the walk to the garden... and I’m so happy we did.

Let me start off by saying that this garden literally knocks the socks off Shinjuku Gyoen. There are three teahouses lovingly preserved on the premises, two of which you can enter. The whole garden is built to center around a massive lake with an island in its middle, and there are so many different paths that you can take that it is hard to get bored. Of course, since everything in the garden is inspired by waka poetry, a great deal of thought has gone into every stone, bridge and tree.

...there are also a LOT of turtles. When crossing one bridge, as many as twenty red-eared sliders all clamored underneath us (most likely hoping for handouts). It was pretty cool to see that many, and there were a few mud turtles and a couple of tortoises too.

The cha-yas are so beautiful. You can see the images in my Tokyo gallery, but a lot of the beams of one of the houses are made out of the trunks of trees, giving it a very oblong and obtuse shape. It was really cool. Then there was the modern teahouse, where Nicky and I stopped in to have matcha and traditional sweets. It was such a nice spot, with the wind blowing through the chimes and a blue heron fishing for its dinner in the distance. It was absolutely perfect.

We stayed until the park closed, at which point we headed back towards my room to have dinner. It was a really nice day....

P.S.- I got an email from my future landlord this morning showing me pictures of the inside of Nicky and I’s apartment in Kyoto... I am SO excited. The apartment is a mostly traditional interior, with rice paper lanterns, a kotatsu (a table with a heater underneath to keep you warm in winter), tatami, and two brand new futons. He also bought us a brand new rice cooker, pots, dishes, hangers and a set of pillows. It seems unreal, given our deposit is only $300, and the monthly rent is $450. I’m paying more for my room in Sugamo, and its barely a third of the size of the apartment in Kyoto. I can’t wait to move now!!!!