Overview of Ikegami Plum Garden
Ikegami Plum Garden, located in Ikegami, Ota-ku, Tokyo, is about 370m west of Ikegami Honmonji Temple and is a ward park that makes the most of its topography of gentle hillside.
It was established in the place where there used to be home and atelier of Shinsui Ito, the famous Japanese-style painter, before World War II.
In the garden, you can enjoy 150 white plums and 220 red plums, for a total of 370 plums, and also various seasonal flowers. In addition, there are Japanese-style rooms and tea rooms in the park, which are available by reservation in advance.
In February, which marks the beginning of spring on the calendar and when the signs of spring appear, about 30 kinds of various plums are in full bloom and then many people visit there.
The origin of Ikegami Plum Garden
Ikegami Plum Garden was originally owned by Japanese-style painter Shinsui Ito and was his home and atelier.
While he was evacuated to Nagano prefecture due to the deterioration of the war situation, his home was burned down by an air raid in 1945.
Mr. Ito handed over the land to Mr. Makoto Ogura, who ran a restaurant in Tsukiji, and Ito got a new atelier in Kamakura and moved to there in 1949.
Later, Mr. Ogura passed away and his bereaved family assigned the land to Tokyo-to on the condition that it would be kept as a garden, and it was transferred to Ota Ward in 1979.
Since the symbol flower of Ota Ward was “Ume (plum)”, plum trees began to be planted – mainly “Koubai”, which has dark pink flowers.
In addition to red plums, they have now the ultra-rare brand “Zaronbai” and also “Omoinomama (As you like)” that blooms red and white flowers on the same tree. There are currently 30 brands of 370 plum trees (150 white plums and 220 red plums).
Who is Shinsui Ito, the owner of the garden?
Real name: Hajime Ito
Birth: February 4, 1898
Death: May 8, 1972 (74 years old)
Genre of paintings: Bijin-ga (Japanese-style paintings of ladies)
Daughter: Actress Yukiji Asaoka
Shinsui Ito, one of major Japanese-style painters, has inherited the orthodox style of Utagawa school ukiyo-e, and expressed the splendor of women with the soft touch unique to Japanese painting all through his life.
Mr. Ito has lived in Minamioi, Shinagawa-ku and in Ikegami, Ota-ku for a total of 26 years.
“Akibare (A sunny day in autumn)”, which described the scenery on the way from Oi to Ikegami in 1929, was painted after Mr. Ito opened a new atelier in Ikegami, and the female model was Yaeko Mizutani.
Facilities in Ikegami Plum Garden
Ikegami Plum Garden has two tea rooms and a Japanese-style room available for events such as tea ceremony and kukai (haiku competition).
The tea rooms of Seigetsu-an and Chouu-an were not originally built in Ikegami Plum Garden, but were relocated and rebuilt there after a history of various people, before and after the war and also in Showa era.
Tea room, Seigetsu-an (seigetsu=the clear moon)
Seigetsu-an was originally a detached house built by Mr. Zenji Kawajiri, the architect who designed the atelier of the famous Japanese painter Shinsui Ito. The Kawajiri family ran a restaurant in front of Ikegami Honmonji, and they had a mansion with a large garden. Later, the tea ceremony artist Kyoumei Nakajima took over this tea room and donated to Ota Ward.
Tea room, Chouu-an (chouu=to hear the rain)
Chouu-an was originally a teahouse owned by Aiichiro Fujiyama, the politician.
It was donated to Ota Ward by Toyu Club in 1983. It is said that Keisuke Okada, Mitsumasa Yoneuchi, Nobumasa Suetsugu and others gathered at this Chouu-an to overthrow the Tojo Cabinet.
Since its opening in 1978, Ikegami Plum Garden has been bustling with many tourists.
Surrounded by plum blossoms and other seasonal flowers, also with Japanese-style rooms and tea rooms, this garden will make you feel most the goodness of old-fashioned Japan.