Inokashira Park

Today was spent exploring a bit more of my new surroundings on foot. Top of my list was a visit to the nearby Inokashira Park. I wasn’t disappointed. It is quite remarkable to find such an island of tranquility amidst the urban sprawl of Tokyo. 22072008099

It is difficult to believe that in less than 5 minutes walk from this spot, you are in the centre of Kichijoji with all its frenetic activity. Yet, under the shade of these majestic trees, serenaded by legions of cicadas, you could be a million miles away.

Inokashira Park was given to the Japanese people by Emperor Taisho in 1913. At its centre is a lake, bordered by sakura cherry and maple trees that give a magnificent display of blossom in the Spring time. It’s a popular spot with young lovers, with buskers and just people wanting to rest their eyes from Tokyo’s relentless concrete vista.

Legend has it that the first Shogun – Ieyasu Tokugawa – used to have the water for his tea ceremony drawn from a spring in Inokashira. The pond is actually the source of the great Kanda river. 22072008115

During my circuit of the park, I discovered what I presume to be the actual spring where the water was drawn. With my very limited understanding of kanji symbols, I was able to deduce that this sign made some reference to tea; However it could have just as easily said “No Fishing”. More on the Park and it’s temple tomorrow.