Kyu Shiba Rikyu Gardens
Located just a short walk away from the Hama Rikyu, the Kyu Shiba Rikyu Gardens takes its place as one of two feudal era gardens which have survived over 300 years, from the Edo period to present day (the other is the Koishikawa Korakuen). In 1678 this land reclaimed and became the residence the ruling Tokugawa Shogun at that time. (Okubo Tadatomo)
In 1923 the Great Kanto Earthquake caused fires which burnt down virtually everything in the park, however the following year it was restored into its present form.
This garden is designed unlike any other in Tokyo. Whereas the Rikugien and Korakuen are intimate, their features are hidden and must be searched out, the Hama Rikyu is so vast that you can only take in one vista at a time but the Shiba Rikyu, from one vantage point the entire garden is viewable and all its features can be taken in. Although some might say it is modest in size, its design gives an impression of tremendous space, perfectly balanced with the garden's elements. The only downside to this park however, is the low tree line which results in many buildings interfering with the atmosphere.
The journey begins at the Wisteria Trellis where you take in the initial view of the park. You'll notice the entire shore around the lake is low lying grass, with azalea bushes and a prodigious amount of pines, making it feel like a forest of pine trees.
In the middle of the lake lies the Nakajima island, which fortunately has two bridges to it and is open for the public to explore. The grass on the Nakajima is exceptionally fine, resembling Canadian grass.
At the East shore of the lake is a charming roofed rest area, a kind of Asian gazebo with benches so you can have a seat and admire the view, it is not un common to find a couple having a marriage ceremony at this spot (due to its obvious appeal)
Connected by a large stone slab bridge, the Oshima Island in the South East has unique dimension you'll only find in this park. It is raised off the ground considerably, and rather rocky, giving a feeling of isolation from the rest of the garden.
Oyama is the garden's highest point, giving a bird’s eye view of the grounds. From this vantage point all that was flat before springs into view with depth, dimension and form. Just in front of the Oyama is the Karetaki, another hill, though not as high, still offers a unique view.
An unexpected surprise, the Shiba Rikyu is home to a full on Archery Range. BYOB (Bring your own bow) however, as there is no equipment for rent and no instruction either, it’s completely do it yourself. The fee is 140 yen per hour.
JR Yamanote Line, Hamamatsucho Station, right next to the garden.
Admission: 150 yen
Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm (last entry at 4:30)
Closed: Year-end holidays. (Dec 29 - Jan 1)