Tokyo Tales for 2020[No. 1]

The Daimyo Teien of Edo

Strolling through some of the capital's most beautiful gardens

Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association

  • What is a daimyo teien?

    The ideal Edo period garden, combining form and function.-Shinji Isoya-

    During the Edo period, daimyo lords, who were required to split their time between their own domains and the capital city of Edo (Tokyo), competed to construct large gardens at their residences.
    There were once a thousand such gardens, and though they disappeared in quick succession following the Meiji Restoration, even now a handful remain to evoke the atmosphere of the Edo period. Professor Shinji Isoya, a leading expert in landscape architecture, explains the origins and significance of daimyo teien, and the best ways to enjoy these priceless gardens.… <More>

  • Still Going Strong After 320 Years!

    Rikugien in Paintings and Photographs

    This painting and photographs from down the years featuring the island of Nakanoshima on Rikugien’s Daisensui Pond show how the garden’s landscape has changed over time. The painting is part of a trio of Rikugien scrolls painted by Kano Tsunenobu and his sons Chikanobu and Minenobu and gifted to the Sento Imperial Palace in August 1705. Nakanoshima appears to have been almost bare of trees, the garden’s twinned hills standing out in stark relief. … <More>

  • Trees and flowers grow, fall and decay…

    A Gardener’s Work is Never Done.

    Perfectly-manicured vistas are the norm whenever you visit a daimyo teien. According to Rikugien gardener Koichi Nemoto, maintaining those lovely vistas “requires constant work, with no room for delay”. … <More>

  • Still entranced 30 years later!

    An Autumn Day Spent in a Daimyo Teien,
    where my Appreciation for the Japanese Aesthetic was Born

    Mathematician Peter Frankl left his native Hungary and traveled the world, eventually coming to Japan for what he assumed would be his first and last visit. He ended up deciding to settle there permanently.
    One reason was the beauty he encountered during his first visit to a daimyo teien (a garden formerly belonging to a daimyo lord).… <More>