On my final Autumn Leaves outing for the season, I went to the Rikugien Gardens, which is in north Tokyo (between Komagome and Sugamo stations on the northern end of the Yamanote Line). It’s probably the final outing because at the park, the leaves were gently drifting down en masse.
The park is so well designed that I decided then and there that it was my favorite Tokyo park. The central feature is a large pond with several islands in it. And though it’s compact and relatively small, the views are constantly varied as you walk around. Also, it’s one of the few gardens in the city that doesn’t have skyscrapers sullying the view.
The textures and colors of the trees are layered in pleasing ways. The gardens were designed to depict famous poems and I could easily feel the poetic sensibilities throughout the grounds. Oh don’t hesitate to visit while it still has leaves.
A Little Detour
I’d never stopped off at Sugamo and Komagome stations so I decided to walk around. These are some of the interesting things I saw on the way to Rikugien .
Closer to the park there was a neighborhood of large estates, houses that are as big as any in California. And out of nowhere an enormous building with impressive columns emerged, which I gathered was the headquarters of a syncretic religion. It sure as heck wasn’t Buddhist.
And finally Rikugien Gardens. My favorite spot was the highest point at the center where the yellow leaves of an ancient tree steadily rained down. All manner of emotional buttons were pushed. It was so damn poetic and beautiful I almost cried. Another year gently dropping its leaves.