Rikugien has been the two top famous Japanese gardens together with Koishikawa Garden since Edo period(1603-1868). In 1695, Yoshiyasu Yanagisawa, who served as a chambar lain of the 5th Shogun Tsunayoshi Tokugawa received this area as his suburban residence. He began designing and directed constructing the stroke-style garden around a big pond which lasted for seven years. The delicate and gentle design of this garden were based on his deep knowledge toward literature.
“Rikugi” means six principles, referring to the six elements in traditional waka poetry (traditional Japanese poetry with 5-7-5-7-7 metre) which has its origin in the six categories of the traditional Chinese Poem.
The huge pond with the island at the center is surrounded by the deep forest. Eighty-eight beautiful scenes are reproduced in the garden, referring to the scenic spots in Wakanoura of Wakayama prefecture or which were written in waka poetry.
After Meiji period(1868-1912), the garden was owned by Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of Mitsubishi group and then was donated to Tokyo. It was finally opened to public in 1938. In 1953, this garden was designated as one of the special scenic beauties of Japan.
The highlight is the weeping cherry tree blooming in the end of March, azaleas in April and May, and 15 species of 1000 hydrangeas in June.
At Fukiage tea house, seasonal traditional Japanese confectioneries and green tea are available for sale while enjoying the stunning huge pond.