Tokyo in Pics


A photography blog about Tokyo, run by Australian photographer Rohan Gillett

Tokyo in Black and White - Koishikawa Korakuen

Recently I’ve discovered another thing I like about Koishikawa Korakuen.  It has reflections. Lots of lots of places where you can find them. There are some big ponds and a couple of rivers where you can find some very nice reflections.  Of course, it has other stuff there as well, but recently I think that what you can find in the water is very nice.

The Nai-Tei with Tokyo Dome reflected in the pond

But first you definitely need to say that it is just a great place for photography.  Everything there looks great in black and white. The bridges, the flowers, the temple, the surrounding buildings, the sunsets and even the rocks. It is a stunning place to shoot.  There is so much on offer. But the reflections of some stuff there is very special.

Engetsukyo (Full Moon Bridge) and you can just see the why it is called so

The main one is Engetsukyo (円月橋), which means “Full Moon Bridge”.  It is a drum bridge and it hasn’t been rebuilt!  It is the original! In Tokyo, due to age or the bombing of the war there are lots of “old” buildings and strucutres that have actually been rebuilt over the years, but not this one.  It has been standing since the park was created. It would be great to photograph this bridge under a full moon and see it reflected in the water. As things stand at the moment, you can only photograph it during the day and of course, it doesn’t look as good.  Still it is well-worth photographing during any visit.

Stepping stones across the Oi river

I also like the main pond, Dai-Sensui and the other pond in the Nai-Tei (Inner Garden) where you can get some amazing reflections.  The buildings in the water look beautiful. There is also the Nai-Tei, another fantastic place, a kind of secret garden, off the beaten track with a little island in the middle of the pond.  It has lots of trees around it that reflect in the water along with some of the rooftop of Tokyo Dome.

The temple of Tokujin-do

When I shot there for this article, the plum blossoms had just come into bloom.  These flowers aren’t quite as famous as cherry blossoms but they used to be during the Nara period (710-794).  While the park mightn’t be one of Tokyo’s most famous places to view the flowers, it does have a great garden of them that always draws a lot of people.

Plum blossoms in February 2019

Koishikawa Korakuen is the kind of place were you could spend hours photographing, and as with many other places in Tokyo I wish I could get there more.  There is so much to shoot there and one article could never do it justice. The cherry blossom season isn’t too far away, so hopefully I’ll be back then.

Sunset over the main pond

If you want to see my main article about the park, please click here.  And if you want to see the official website for it, please click here.

Gear used for these pictures:

Camera - Fujifilm X-T2

Lens - Fujifilm XF 10 - 24 mm f/4.0 R OIS

  Fujifilm XF 16 - 55 mm f2.8 R LM WR

    Fujifilm XF 55 - 200 mm f/3.5 - 4.8 R LM OIS

Film Simulation - Acros