Build environment: total experience

Sanrio Puroland in Tama New Town, Tokyo

‘Tokyo has only about a 10 percent allocation of open space. Most of it is found in gardens and parks. One of Tokyo’s finest gardens, deep in the urban folds of lidabasi, is the Koishikawa Korakoen Teien, situated next to Tokyo Dome. Construction of the garden at the main residence of Yorifusa Tokugawa, the founder of the Mito Tokugawa family, began in 1629. Koishikawa Korakoen is a classic example of the Japanese stroll garden: it was intended for leisurely walking. The contemporary Japanese term for gardens of this style, kaiyushiki teien (excursion-style garden) highlights their function as highbrow, Edo period amusement parks. As visitors follow paths through the garden, scenic spots from China and Japan and literary scenes based on Heian period classics unfold. A bridge in the garden recreates Tsuten-bashi, a bridge that crosses a maple-lined gorge at Tofukuji Temple, in Arashiyama on the outskirts of Kyoto. The facsimile bridge spans the Oikawa River, the garden’s modest stream. Two small hills, grassy knolls covered with dwarf bamboo that resemble Shilla tombs, represent Mount Lu, a Buddhist pilgrimage site in China. Rice paddies are a unique feature rarely seen within a formal garden arrangement. These were created by Itsukuni Mito to show his daughter-in-law the realities and hardships faced by peasant farmers. The paddies still serve an instructive purpose: Bukyoku elementary school children come here each May and September to plant and harvest the rice.’

Karan, P.P. (2005). Japan in the 21st Century: Environment, Economy, and Society. University Press of Kentucky.

Koishikawa Korakoen


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