The Elegant Mystery of the Hama-rikyū Gardens in Tokyo, Japan

The Elegant Mystery of the Hama-rikyū Gardens in Tokyo, Japan

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Type: Photo stories ◦◦ Places ◦◦ Documentary ◦◦ Black and White ◦◦ Limited Edition Fine Art Prints ◦◦ Seascapes ◦◦ Urban

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Tokyo, Japan; September 2016;

I have traveled to Japan twice and on each occasion, I dedicated several hours to visiting different gardens. Whether it was strolling around, taking photos, or simply enjoying the scenery, I found these experiences to be quite rewarding. One particular park in Tokyo that stood out to me was the Hama-rikyū Garden in Chūō Ward. This serene place is surrounded by a massive wall that seems to shield it from the hustle and bustle of the city. It's common for parks, especially those found within Zen temples, to be enclosed by fences. This serves to create a frame for the scenery and helps to maintain a focused state of mind. Despite the captivating cityscape and impressive architecture, Japan's metropolises are often crowded with people rushing through towering concrete structures and bustling boulevards. In this context, the gardens take on a special significance as havens for meditation and being fully present in the moment.


Initially, I had assumed that all Japanese gardens were Zen gardens. However, in John Douglil's captivating book, "Zen Gardens and Temples of Kyoto," he presents a different perspective. He states, "There is no such thing as a Zen garden in Japanese. Rather, there are types of gardens that have been adapted to a Zen environment." These gardens may take on various forms, but they share certain fundamental characteristics: simplicity, tranquility, symbolism, and an air of elegant mystery. "Elegant mystery" - these were the words that came to mind as I strolled through the Hama-rikyū gardens.


I was captivated by the photography technique known as "slow shutter photography", which utilizes slow shutter speeds to capture stationary elements in sharp focus while blurring or obscuring the moving details (as seen in the photo above). This technique was perfectly suited for this location, so I dedicated most of my time to capturing "slow shutter" images. The teahouse situated in the middle of Shio-iri pond was particularly ideal for this purpose.


The garden also features several other tea houses, such as Matsu-no-ochaya, Tsubame-no-ochaya, Taka-no-Ochaya Nakajima no-nese. Additionally, the park boasts a peony garden, a plum tree grove, and flower fields that showcase the beauty of each season.


Hama-rikyū Garden in Chūō Ward, Tokyo

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