Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hama Rikyu

Day fifty-seven: Hama Rikyu

Like neighboring Tsukiji fish market, the Hama Rikyu ornamental garden underscores Tokyo's ties to the sea. Located on Tokyo Bay at the mouth of the Sumida river, Hama Rikyu was once a villa and hunting ground for the Tokugawa family, who could arrive there by boat. The park was opened to the public in 1946 and is now a welcome patch of green in an urban area bristling with high-rises.

The garden's centerpiece is a large saltwater pond fed by the adjacent bay, in the center of which "floats" a 300-year-old teahouse, Nakajima-no-Ochaya. Connected to the shore by long wooden bridges, the teahouse is a peaceful place to relax over a cup of whipped tea and a fresh seasonal sweet, such as the molded chrysanthemum above.

Garden entry costs
¥300; tea and a sweet are ¥500, and a second cup of tea is ¥200.

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