When Veronica and I were here in September 2009, we took this tourist ferry to Hinode Pier. This time, Hama-ryku Gardens were my target. In 2009, the ferry was packed with lots of overseas visitors and locals. This time around, it was barely a quarter full, reflecting the uncomfortable rainy season but more the drastic drop off in tourism since the March earthquake and tsunami.
|Nakajima-no-ochaya Tea house|
The gardens present another stark contrast to the dense built up environment that surround. It is absolutely quiet, the pond waters still and glassy. People wander around in quiet contemplation. Yet turn around and there is the un-escapable reality of Tokyo high rise offices.
Hama-ryku Garden is the family garden of the Tokugawa Shogun. Nice work if you can get it. The Nakajima-no-ochaya Tea house originated in 1707. It is these sorts of cultural relics that draw me to Japan.
The entrance fee is a reasonable 500Y and includes Green Tea served with a confection. For us tourists, you were also provided with a cheat sheet to explain what you did and when – like holding the cup in your left hand, and rotating it clockwise 180 degrees. Might sound corny, but in this setting it did let my imagination run wild – hey is that Shintaro over in trees?
Unfortunately my genetic hip condition did not allow me to squat on the floor, so I could not completely transport myself back to Shogun times.
Just got to mention Shimbashi Station, the nearest to Hama-ryku. The station is set in the bowels of a complex of 3 new office towers. it is 7 star quality. Granite and marble pasages leading to the centre of the earth. As if David jones basement had trains running through it. I little bit different than Penriff.
(Thursday 28th July, 2011)