Thursday, 26 November 2009

Koishikawa and autumn leaves

Koishikawa Korakuen is without doubt the best place to experience autumn beauty in central Tokyo. Located next to Tokyo Dome and in close proximity to perhaps 5 subway lines  (at Korakuen, Kasuga and Iidabashi) and one JR line (at Suidobashi) it is also one of the most popular. .. Mind the tour groups!, Though actually they move through quite quickly.
Yesterday, my former next door neighbour, Mrs Higuchi, and I had lunch at the French Institut de Japonais followed by a leisurely stroll around Koishikawa. It is one of Tokyo's oldest parks, dating back more than three hundred years to Tokugawa (shogun) times and was built using Chinese expertise. The garden has lakes, and mountains and bridges, spring flowering plums and cherries and peaches, summer rice, autumn ginko and momiji (Japanese maple).   Each viewpoint in the garden is remarkably different, each section is its own  microcosm.
At this time of year the light gently filters into the park through the momiji (Japanese maple)  leaves. It is the middle of  kouyou (leaf changing season) there at the moment: some leaves are still green, some have turned to yellow, others are a brilliant red.       It's always satisfying as well as enjoyable to spend time with Mrs Higuchi.  She's the only Japanese friend  that I speak in Japanese with,  furthermore her Japanese is very genteel.  One can only hope that the the Billingsgate Japanese I have absorbed in high schools is polished up by association. ;)

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