Tonogayato Teien – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園

Horticulture of the Taishō- and Shōwa era

A German version of this posting you can find here.
Eine deutsche Version dieses Artikels finden Sie hier.

Tonogayato Teien – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園

Tonogayato Teien – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園

If it’s not the first time you have visited this website, you’ll know that it is, most of all, dedicated to such places that – for whatever reason – the major travel guides seem to avoid (or simply don’t know of). Therefore: Don’t be surprised, if you’ve never heard of a Tonogayato Teien (殿ヶ谷戸庭園 / とのがやとていえん). That may document a lamentable gap in education – but you are in good company.

Tonogayato Teien – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園

Tonogayato Teien – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園

This Japanese style landscape garden was created at a time, when Japan was in a period of transition. Suddenly it wasn’t only the noble families that had stately homes, tea houses and gardens built, but also those who made their fortune in conjunction with Japan’s opening to the world and its expansive ambitions. Eguchi Teijō (江口・定條 / えぐち・ていじょう) may have been a typical representative of these times. He, who was to become the vice president of the Manchurian Railroad Company (南満州鉄道 / みなみまんしゅうてつどう – in short also called 満鉄 / まんてつ), had this garden built as a part of his residence in the early years (1913-1915) of the Taishō-Tennō’s reign. “Vice president of a railroad company” may not sound like much. But when you learn that this company was also in charge of the industrialisation of “Mandschukuo” (満州国 / まんしゅうこく) when it was occupied by Japan, the status which came with such an assignment becomes evident.

Please click one of the miniatures in the mosaic above to start a slide show in screen size.

On the official English version of the website of the garden administration of Tōkyō you can read, that the founder of the Mitsubishi Company, Iwasaki Yatarō (岩崎・弥太郎 / いわさき・やたろう) bought the estate in 1929 and that he had various additional buildings constructed (e.g. the tea house in a most romantic maple tree grove) and the garden refurbished. I am pretty sure that this is just a unintended mistake and not a kind of “historical misinterpretation”, because at that time, dear Iwasaki-san was dead for 44 years already… However, this mistake made its way to quite a number of (non-Japanese) internet postings.
Nevertheless, it is correct, that the compound was bought by the Iwasaki family in 1929, was refurbished (also western style building were added) and used as one of the family’s residences. Well, the internet may have a reputation of omniscience – but sometimes it is obvious that it doesn’t live up to this reputation.

Please click one of the miniatures in the mosaic above to start a slide show in screen size.

There were some ambitions to turn the garden and its buildings down in the 60s of last century, in order to use the area for other purposes. But a strong neighbourhood movement was able to prevent this, and eventually the city administration bought the garden and handed it over to the public in 1979.

Please click one of the miniatures in the mosaic above to start a slide show in screen size.

Despite the rather modest dimensions (roughly 21,000 sqm), the garden offers a quite varied topography – one feels almost compelled to advise sturdy footgear, as the descent to the romantic pond at the tea house can hardly be managed in 6-inch heels. Most likely, the Tonogayato Teien’s best season is the autumn (i.e. late November), when the maple trees’ bright red provides the most beautiful contrast to the blue sky, but also the lush green of the bamboo grove. The tea house (Kōyōtei / 紅葉亭 / こうようてい) in the maple grove above the pond is a picturesque invitation to a little rest when you feel it’s about time to let your spirits flow….

If you want to learn more about the garden, its history and its buildings, there is a little exhibition (Japanese only) in the main building of the garden.

Tonogayato Teien/Haupthaus – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園/本館

Tonogayato Teien/main building – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園/本館

Tonogayato Teien/Haupthaus – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園/本館

Tonogayato Teien/main building – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園/本館

Tonogayato Teien/Haupthaus – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園/本館

Tonogayato Teien/main building – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園/本館

Address:

2-16 Minami-machi
Kokubunji City
Tōkyō 185-0021

How to get there:

Take the JR Chūō-Linie (JR 中央線 / ちゅうおうせん) to Kokubunji station (国分寺駅 / こくぶんじえき). From the station’s south exit it’s just about two minutes to the left (east) – the entrance to the garden is on the garden’s north side.

Opening hours:

Daily from 9 am to 5 pm (last entry: 4.30 pm)
Closed during the New Year holidays (December 29th to January 1st)

Admission fee:

  • Adulds and junior highschool students: 150 Yen (groups of 20 or more persons pay a reduced admission fee of 120 Yen per person)
  • Seniors (65 years of age or older): 70 Yen (groups of 20 or more persons pay a reduced admission fee of 50 Yen per person)
  • Free for elementary school students or younger and junior highschool students living or studying in Tōkyō.

Also annual tickets are available for the Tonogayato Teien (600 Yen for adults / 280 Yen for children), as well as annual tickets for all nine municipal gardens together (4,000 Yen for adulds / 2,000 Yen for children).

The rooms of the tea house, Kōyōtei (紅葉亭 / こうようてい), can also be rented for cultural events (half a day: 4,000 Yen, whole day 8,000 Yen).

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One Response to Tonogayato Teien – 殿ヶ谷戸庭園

  1. […] englische Version dieses Artikels finden Sie hier. An English version of this posting you can […]

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