The Best 3 Things to do in Bunkyo

by Luke

Bunko, at the heart of the capital, is a place of beauty and entertainment. From stunning gardens, to an amusement park, you will find plenty to do on your trip to Japan. In Autumn, Koishikawa Korakuen Garden becomes a popular attraction at night, with illuminated autumn leaves, and don't miss Tokyo Dome City in Decemeber, where the whole complex is illuminated in winter lights. Here are the top three sights:

Koishikawa Korakuen Garden

The Best 3 Things to do in Bunkyo

(image by 66.hk)

Koishikawa Korakuen was built in the Edo Era. It was built in 1629 in the early Edo Era as the Edo residence garden for the Mito Tokugawas, one of the three branch families retaining status just under the Tokugawa shoguns. Afterwards, under the aegis of the second leader of the Mito Tokugawas, Mitsukuni, further work was done and the gorgeous garden was completed. Koishikawa Korakuen was designated in 1952 as a Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty, and it has continued to retain its beautiful appearance as a famous garden which is prominent in Japan.

The garden was designed with a beautiful view of a pond centering various bridges and stones, and was constructed to resemble the mountains and rivers in the natural world with small hills and streams to enjoy as a part of nature as you sit in the garden. Also, it was created in the style of a garden encircling a pond which was popular during the Edo Era to be cherished as a landscape whose impressions change as you walk through it. At the time, Mitsukuni, who was influenced by Confucian thought, imbued the garden everywhere with a Chinese style that included the arched bridges, a style that was considered to be the cutting edge in garden design.

The biggest highlight in the garden has to be Daisensui Pond that expressed the scenery of Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest lake. Long ago, it is said that the daimyo (feudal lords) took graceful boat rides on the pond. As well, the fusion of nature-filled vistas such as Seiko-no-Tsutsumi, which resembles Seiko Lake in China, Engetsukyo Bridge, which was designed by a Confucian scholar during the Ming Dynasty, and the vermilion Tsutenkyo Bridge is splendid. You can enjoy the flowers and trees of the four seasons whenever you visit, but during early April, the 60-year-old weeping cherry trees start to blossom in the garden, and the scenery becomes even more vivid. On the other hand, a rather odd thing is the presence of Tokyo’s only rice paddy which was built to teach about the hardships in growing rice. However in summer, the idyllic scene of ears of rice rustling away is quite calming.  

Admission: ¥ 300

Guidebook from Planetyze about Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
Tours in Koishikawa Korakuen Garden

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Garden 

The Best 3 Things to do in Bunkyo

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Despite its location within the heart of Tokyo, the hotel has been praised for its quiet environment filled with nature atop a hill. In fact, in 2013, it was awarded as The Best Luxury Hotel in Japan by the UK publication, “Business Destinations” and in the following year, it was judged to be The Best Business Hotel in Japan at the 2014 MICE Report Awards. 

The hotel has a Japanese garden, restaurants, party facilities, a wedding hall, a spa and other amenities, so even for non-guests, the Chinzanso is recommended for people who are thinking of taking a leisurely break while getting a taste of a Japanesque atmosphere.

The garden also has a particular value in visiting it. Camellia have grown wild in this area since the 14th century so it was called Tsubaki-yama (Camellia Mountain). The hotel’s name is derived as another reading of the kanji for Tsubaki-yama.

Afterwards in 1878, military officer and later Prime Minister Aritomo Yamagata purchased the land out of his own pocket to create a residence and garden. And then, Baron Heitaro Fujita, who came into possession of the garden, wanted to retain its status as a famous garden so while maintaining the garden that Yamagata had built, Fujita had historical monuments moved from all over Japan and placed in this area to further refine the garden. One of these monuments is a three-storey pagoda from Hiroshima that was installed at the top of the garden. It’s estimated that the pagoda is a 16th-century (late Muromachi Era) structure and has been recognized as a National Registered Tangible Cultural Property. Currently, the garden is open to the public free of charge so it is recommended to visit to appreciate the all-season flora such as winter camellia and the spring cherry blossoms and the other historic sites.

In addition, at Chizanso, there are 12 establishments providing Japanese and Western cuisines along with a café, a lounge and a bar. There is even a restaurant within the garden that serves Japanese fare so that after a stroll through the garden, you can also enjoy a meal there while leisurely admiring the view.

One day to spend at your leisure recovering from the rigors of touring. An elegant day in Tokyo can be experienced by taking a garden walk, enjoying a meal and relaxing in a spa and a lounge, all at Chinzanso. 

Admission: Free

Guidebook from Planetyze about Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Garden
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Garden
Tours in Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo Garden

Tokyo Dome City

The Best 3 Things to do in Bunkyo

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

In Tokyo Dome City, which started as an outdoor baseball stadium in 1937, there are many various kinds of facilities such as the main ones of Tokyo Dome, Japan’s first domed stadium, the amusement park Tokyo City Dome Attractions, the spa LaQua and the Tokyo Dome Hotel along with the multipurpose Meets Port with its concert hall and restaurants, the space museum TenQ and a bowling alley and roller skating rink. Tokyo Dome City is an urban entertainment facility where you can have fun for an entire day and not get bored.

Japan’s first roofed baseball stadium opened in 1988. The total area is about 4.7 hectares with a seating capacity from 46,000-55,000 people, and due to its shape, it was given the nickname of Big Egg. The Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame is located inside the stadium, and the achievements of players who contributed to the world of Japanese baseball are admired there. Various information related to baseball is also displayed. And the stadium is not only just for baseball, but also for events and concerts, and on days when the top musicians within Japan and overseas perform, the area is overflowing with huge crowds.

Since its opening in 1955, it has been loved by everyone as an amusement park within the city. Renovations have been done repeatedly over the years in answering the needs of the generations, and in 2003, the spa LaQua was opened. Further evolution has been achieved as an urban amusement park which adults can enjoy. A roller coaster that cuts an arc through the sky was launched, and a haunted house is always popular. In addition, there is also a fountain which spouts water as a dance in time with music to add to the many fun attractions.

Admission: Various

Guidebook from Planetyze about Tokyo Dome City
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Tokyo Dome City
Tours of Tokyo Dome City

20 Oct 2015

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