A little piece of England in Tokyo? Yes and you can find it at Kyu-Furukawa Gardens near Komagome station on the Yamanote line. Furukawa has a wonderful rose garden, mansion and lawn - all designed by the famed English architect, Josiah Conder, who was very active in Japan during the Meiji period. It is a pretty place especially when the roses are in bloom in May and October. During those months Furukawa is packed with people who have come to admire them take some pictures of them. The garden is a sea of colours, brilliant reds and oranges through to yellows and pale pinks and whites.
Compared to other parks, such as Hama-Rikyu Gardens, Koishikawa Korakuen, Kiyosumi Gardens or the nearby Rikugien, Furukawa is small. However, size isn't everything as the old saying goes. What is there, is pure fantastic, especially for flower lovers. And on top of that, even though I've never been to England this garden certainly fits my image of what an English garden is like, especially with the wonderful mansion serving as a backdrop with its great architecture. If you visit this place when the weather is just right, it'll be picture perfect. So many roses of different shapes and colours (not only English roses, but roses from all over the world). They're pure magic. The staff at Furukawa obviously tend them with great care. Unfortunately I'm not the best flower photographer, but I hope the pictures here can give you some idea of what you might find there.
As well as the rose garden there is a Japanese one (but not designed by Conder) at the back of the property, down the slope. It is pretty much a mini-version of what is found at other Edo-period gardens in Tokyo. In middle is a pond (named, "Shinji") ringed by a path to enjoy a walk and enormous lanterns, hills from which to sit and admire the view, a waterfall and the surrounding trees.
I love Kyu-Furukawa as it is an extremely picturesque place and is just asking for to be photographed. It is highly recommend it, but just make sure you go in May or October when the roses will be there for you! And lastly, it is possible to get inside the mansion, but you have to join one of the guided tours that take you inside, available three times a day. You can see its website here.
How to get to Kyu-Furukawa Gardens
Furukawa is quite easy to get to, as there are three stations nearby:
1) JR Komagome Station: Use the South exit, once out of the station turn right and keep walking up Hongo-dori (or Hongo road). Furukawa Gardens are about a fifteen minute walk away;
2) Kami-Nakasato station on the JR Keihin-Tohoku line, which is about a seven minute walk, and;
3) Nishigahara station on the Tokyo Metro Nanboku line, which is also about a seven minute walk.
Here is a Google map to help you:
Kyu-Furukawa is open from 9am to 5pm (last admittance at 4:30pm). As with all parks run by the Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association, it is closed from December 29 to January 3.
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy:
History Garage - a great place to learn more about the history of cars
Omiya Hachiman - one of Tokyo's local shrines
Rainbow Bridge - a fantastic place to enjoy some amazing views
Shibamata Taishakuten - one of the most interesting temples in Tokyo
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building - without doubt the best FREE observatory in the city