Date: 6th July 2018
Another Tokyo Metropolitan Garden!
Located in Kokubunji in western Tokyo, Tonogayato Teien (殿ヶ谷戸庭園) originated between 1913 to 1915 as part of a villa belonging to Eguchi Teiji, a former employee of Mitsubishi who was also the vice president of the South Manchuria Railway. In 1929, the president of Mitsubishi Group, Iwasaki Koyata acquired the villa from the Eguchi family and completed the villa as a kaiyu-style (circuit-style) garden in 1934, also adding the teahouse Koyo-tei.
Lets now explore the garden, which was in lush green at the time of my visit. Passing by the quiet entrance, I noticed the Main Residence but left it for exploration later. The atmosphere of the garden after the rain gave it a special ambience, added with the much adored mossy lawns.
Tonogayato Teien offers a range of flowers to admire across the seasons. The hydrangea season was almost over, however I managed to catch some remaining hydrangeas at this garden, which was a pleasant surprise.
In May, you would be able to see wisteria here, survived from the time of the Iwasaki family. Right next to the wisteria trellis is the hagi (Japanese bush clover) tunnel, beautiful small purple flowers which blooms at the start of autumn, in mid September.
Walking down from the hagi tunnel area, I found myself before a trail of moso bamboos, Take-no-komichi, the path leading to the Jirobenten-ike. It was then that I realised I was not prepared against the mosquitoes here. Put on some mosquito repellent if you are coming here!
Looking at the maple leaves here, I immediately knew how beautiful it would have been in autumn. I have left some links at the end of the post to other sites which have captured the stunning fall foliage at this garden. The autumn leaves in Tonogayato Teien reaches its peak around late November to early December.
The main feature of Tonogayato Teien is the Jirobenten-ike, a pond of spring water surrounded by a Japanese garden. Above is the teahouse Koyo-tei, which is a perfect spot to admire the maple leaves during autumn. The teahouse can be reserved for tea ceremonies or related gatherings.
Behind the teahouse is the shishi-odoshi (deer threat), giving off a beautiful sound perfect for this quaint garden.
Since Tanabata (Star Festival) was just around the corner, it was not a surprise to see tanzaku hanging on bamboos at Koyo-tei. They even had them in front of the information board near the entrance!
After amazingly spending almost 30 minutes around Jirobenten-ike, I was back at the main residence, which was a western-style residence built as a detached residence of Iwasaki Koyata. The interior of the building is a mix of both Japanese and western rooms.
I thought that I would not be able to find other flowers here, so I was so elated to find this lily, though it was in front of the washroom.
So, if you want to escape the crowded Tokyo Metropolitan Gardens in central Tokyo, why not give Tonogayato Teien a try? Despite it being summer and the lack of flowers, I enjoyed my visit here and would definitely return here someday.
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 (last entry at 16:30)
Closing days: December 29th to January 1st
Admission fees: 150 yen (free on May 4th and October 1st)
Guided tour (Free, In Japanese): 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekends and public holidays
Links to sites with autumn pictures:
Tonogayato Teien is just a 2-mins walk from Kokubunji Station’s South Exit. Kokubunji Station is served by the JR Chuo Line, the Seibu Kokubunji Line and the Seibu Tamako Line. From Shinjuku Station, it takes about 18 mins on the JR Chuo Line @ 390 yen.