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600 Cherry Blossoms Fill Japan's Air with Sweet Aroma

Edo Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu hunted and partied in the Gotenyama Garden

Beautiful white flowers framed the quiet pond in the corner of the garden.

I wander this place often as it reminds me of "The Secret Garden" depicted in one of my favorite childhood stories. It IS truly hidden from the main road and casual passersby.

Those inside the Tokaido, Yokosuka, Yamanote or Keihin Kyuko lines will notice a towering church steeple up on the hill above Shinagawa station. Three brown, impressive buildings stand here, one is an office building, one is a luxury condominium and finally, the brand new and beautiful Marriot Hotel.

Gotenyama Garden founds this group of buildings in beautiful green peace and lovely echoes of times gone by. It was in this place that Ieyasu Tokugawa, the Shogun who started Japan's Edo Period, would hunt as well as entertain important guests and dignitaries.

The Garden was a haven in Spring as it boasted some 600 Cherry Blossom trees. Now, it is a haven year-round with a much smaller, yet just as lovely bowl-like garden of pristine moss covered clearings, small waterfalls, seasonal flowers, ancient trees and more. The other night I walked along the path surrounding the garden and could hear frogs croaking their way into the early hours of the night.

If you are visiting the Hara Museum (another amazing facet of the beautiful area) any of the Embassies or even stopping by for Sunday brunch or afternoon tea at the Marriot, I definitely recommend a stroll through peaceful Gotenyama Garden.

Meet neighbors walking their dogs, gardeners keeping the place perfect or business people having a snack among the trees. A hidden bit of history and a caretaker's dream... Gotenyama Garden is sure to become your special haven in Tokyo.

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Former Deep Japan Writer

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