Totoro's rants

Totoro's rants

Day 3 : Tokyo - Komagome

JapanPosted by Totoro42Blue Thu, October 30, 2008 01:08:42
Disaster strikes! A large group, 20+, of Danes arrived yesterday evening, and this morning at the breakfast tables they were practically crawling all over the place. When I go half-way around the world, the last people I want to meet are Danes, so goodbye Gimmond Hotel, this will be the last time. I had in fact already found another hotel for this trip, but due to circumstances I choose to go for the safe option (and known place) this time again. My bad.

I decided to revisit (for the third time as I now have visited every time I have in Japan) the Rikugien Garden near Komagome station. The other two times had been late in the afternoon and this would be the first time visiting it before noon.

Rikugien Garden was built by Yoshiyasu Yanagisawa, a favorite of the fifth Shogun Tunayoshi Tokugawa, as his villa in 1702. It is a Daimyo style garden called a Kaiyuu pond garden with hills and ponds.

I enjoy the mixture of water and trees, small and large, bright and darker. There are lots and lots of photo opportunities all over the garden. Being there at a different time of day made some of the places quite different especially the 'ghost pond' seemed much more dark than in the late afternoon where parts of it is brightened by the sun. It feels like a very romantic place and a place I really would like to enjoy with someone close.
Inside the garden is a small open Tea House, and one of the things I have been looking forward to since last year was to enjoy a cup of tea there. Unfortunately when I got there it was filled with a small group of slightly noisy American tourists and most of the locals seemed to have fled, so did I. I walked a bit more around and when I saw (from the other side of the pond, thanks to a nice zoom lens on my camera) that they were leaving, I decided to go back and fullfill my dream.
Blog ImageWhen I came back to the house it had already started to fill up with both young and older women, but I managed to grab a part of a bench and ordered a set of, what seemed the standard choice, Green Tea with Sweets.
Blog ImageSo in the shadow, it was around noon and getting quite warm, I enjoyed the foamy light green tea among the quiet chit-chat of the local women (I was the only man there) and a nice very sweet sweet, which had to be seperated into at least 5 parts to be eaten. It was all like I had imagined.

Afterwards I walked around to the exit, got hit on the forehead by a stone from a edge cutter (there was a man walking beside it with a heavy iron panel to protect guests from such occurrences, but when the edge cutter moved away some stones seemed to fly above the protection) giving me slight headache later on, but nothing serious. And nothing to remove the enjoyment I had from revisiting he Rikugien Garden again.

At the exit of Rikugien garden I saw that it was only a 20 minute walk to Kyu Furukawa garden at the other side of the station so I decided that I want to have a look at that one as well.

The area around Komagome station can best be described as a suburb. At the station is a Little Mermaid bakery and coming out of Rikugien garden I saw this German inspired 'Eating' bakery car.
Blog ImageUnfortunately I felt a bit quisy and the beginning of a slight headache otherwise there would have been amble possibility to try out the local Bento boxes or Sushi boxes or other of the local food. All of which looked quite interesting. I definitely want to try to buy a Bento box this time.
Blog ImageAfter a 20 minute or so walk I arrived at Kyu Furukawa Garden, which means former Furukawa Garden. In the garden is a western style house built in the Taisho period by Dr. Josiah Conder(1852~1920). There is a traditional Japanese style garden with a pond, and on the slope between the hill and the Japanese garden, there is a nice western style garden full of flowers such as roses, azaleas, etc.
Blog ImageThere was a slightly battered house cat as well, who had lost part of his (probably) tail, but definitely felt quite at home at the house, and ignored that I was taking pictures of him sunbathing.
Blog ImageThe traditional Japanese styled pond garden with its selection of beautiful lamps.
Blog ImageThe water seemed to lack a bit of flow, but there were koy fish, turtles as well as ducks enjoying the pond.
Blog ImageThe Western styled part of the garden with view of the house.
Blog ImageIt is not quite as nice as Rikugien garden, but it was well worth the visit and contained a nice little walk. The public toilet on the premise was squeaky clean, and it still continues to amaze me that most of the public toilets I run into in Japan are so clean (and non-smelly) even though they are free. That would be impossible in Denmark.

I was now getting tired, the stomach felt odd and the headache had become obtrussive so I decided to head home around mid-afternoon.

But on the way back I decided to pay the local PoroRoca supermarket a visit, so I dont leave all my candy, cookie, drink money at the local 7-11.
Blog ImageFor around 1800 Yen I got the above loot, including what I believe are a couple of 4 mochi sweets (in the center). Only strawberry Pocky's though, the supermarket did not have the orange-flavoured ones that the local 7-11 has.

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