garden, architecture, art

Happo-en culture

Happo-en is a Japanese garden with an elegant atmosphere created by using the gentle topography of Shirokanedai and the trace of a stream in Minato-ku, Tokyo. In the garden, you can see hundreds of years old towering trees and migratory birds.

At the beginning of the Edo period, Okubo Hikozaemon, a retainer of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, owned the land of Happo-en. His anecdote can be found in many historical books.

Okubo was like a hero to the weak and poor. He was brave enough to speak up to the shogunate for them while he had the strong loyalty to the shogun Ieyasu.

At the end of the Meiji era, the land was owned by a business man Shibusawa Kisaku, and then in the Taisho era, it was owned by Kuhara Fusanosuke, who laid the foundation for Hitachi, Ltd..

The reason why Kuhara purchased the land was because of a pine tree in the garden. He was fascinated by the majestic pine tree over 400 years old.  He loved the pine tree so much that he often took picture with it in the background.

As soon as Kuhara purchased the land, he started planning to make a big garden, utilizing the natural terrain.  He committed to making the garden harmonized with nature. He maintained the trees with minimum pruning, allowing the trees grow freely, and cherished them.

Kuhara’s thoughts are still passed on even today. The beauty and culture of the Japanese garden has been preserved as it is, and it is now existed with modern atmosphere. Happo-en has become a popular spot you must see when you visit to Japan if you would like to enjoy nature and Japanese culture. 

The first thing I would like you to see here is the Chisen Kaiyu Style Garden (Strolling Garden) which is one of the forms of traditional Japanese garden designed to enjoy a view of landscaping.  

In Chisen Kaiyu Style Garden, walking paths are circulated around a pond and other elements of landscaping such as trees, stones, water, and soil. Those elements are arranged in their natural form.

In Happo-en, there are also bonsai trees over 500 years old. So, you can experience taste of nature as well as beauty of Japanese culture.

Also, the best feature of Happo-en is the scenery during the four seasons.  In the spring, you can see the beautiful contrast between lively green leaves and the color of cherry blossoms. In the summer, you can feel cool air as you watch the carps elegantly swimming in the pond and listen to the sound of the water. In the fall, you will be fascinated by the autumn leaves reflected on the surface of the pond. After passionate seasons, as it starts snowing, you will feel refreshed in the quiet garden.

Happo-en is also famous for its restaurants that serve fresh ingredients grown in the rich soil of Japan. Enjoying fine food with a great view of Japanese garden is a joy that you can only discover in Japan.

In 2018, Happo-en was ranked the 3rd on Trip Adviser for Free Tourist Attractions in Japan.

The scenery of the four seasons is also a real pleasure of Happo-en. Spring is a season when the contrast between the vitality of fresh green and the color of cherry blossoms is beautiful. In the summer, you can feel the coolness of the carp swimming in the pond elegantly and the sound of the water, and in the fall, you will be fascinated by the fiery autumn leaves reflected on the surface of the pond. After a passionate season, the deep snow and tranquility will make you feel refreshed.

In Happo-en, there is not only a Japanese garden but also a restaurant where you can enjoy the fresh ingredients grown in the rich earth of Japan. A meal with a view of nature is a joy and new discovery that can only be enjoyed in Japan.

Auther:Mamiko Kusano

CREAZIONE Co.Ltd. Director
From Tokyo
2006 Established CREAZIONE Co. Ltd. I mainly work on branding, digital branding, space design, and furniture design.