Hamarikyu Gardens and Tea House
Written by Sophie, November 2020
In the heart of Tokyo, near where Tsukiji Fish Market once stood, is an oasis from the bustle of the city. The Hamarikyu gardens, or Hamarikyuteien, is a public park on the site where a Feudal Lord once had a Villa. Hamarikyu has a similar feeling to Central Park in New York, or London’s Hyde Park. You can be entirely immersed in nature, and then look up to see skyscrapers towering over you.
I was visiting Japan in late June, perfect timing to enjoy the hydrangeas but also a time with a high chance of rain. Luckily, I had my umbrella with me, and the rain ensured that the gardens weren’t too busy. There are so many different varieties of flowers and trees, that whatever season you visit in you’ll be sure to see blossoming flowers, or vibrant foliage.
We walked around the gardens, visiting the different areas and stopping at the small shrine. There are a few structures from when the gardens were still a Feudal Palace, as well as some recent recreations of buildings that once stood in the gardens.
Whilst we were visiting the gardens, we decided to stop for some tea. The Nakajima tea house is built on stilts and sits atop pond in the middle of the gardens. The gardens are right by Tokyo Bay, and so the moat as well as the pond are saltwater and also affected by the tide. The tea house has tatami floors, so all visitors must remove their shoes before entering. We chose a place by the window, overlooking the water and ordered. We each enjoyed a bowl of foamy matcha tea, as well seasonal wagashi. The tea house wasn’t too busy and had a lovely, calm atmosphere. We were able to drink our tea at our own pace, and enjoy our surroundings.
If you are visiting Tokyo and would like to enjoy a relaxing walk and a cup of matcha then definitely visit Hamarikyu Gardens. The gardens are also close to the Nakagin Capsule Tower which is definitely worth walking past!
Find out more here: https://www.tokyo-park.or.jp/park/format/about028.html