Kyu-Yasuda Teien Gardens
Kyu-Yasuda Teien Gardens: Read about these gardens that became a permanent fixture of Tokyo only in the twentieth century, but whose old-world charm has its roots in 17th century Japan and its samurai past.
Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden 旧安田庭園
The Japanese Sword Museum from Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden
Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden in the Ryogoku district, Sumida ward, Tokyo, is just north of the sumo stadium, the Kokugikan. Kyu-Yasuda Teien Gardens began life as the grounds of a samurai residence in 1691. The residence was famed for its pond that was fed by the Sumida River, running alongside the plot.
The Sumida River, being as close to the sea as it is, was affected by the tides, causing the water level in the garden pond to rise and fall with it. The garden is no longer fed by the river, but relies on pumps to daily raise and lower the water level, recreating the original effect.
The land's 20th century inheritor, Yasuda Zenjiro, granted the land to the public after his death in 1922, but the Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1923 destroyed it. Renovation was complete by 1927 when it became a park. The Garden was further renovated in 2018 with the opening of the Japanese Sword Museum in one corner of the park (where the former green-domed Ryogoku Kokai-do once stood: built in 1926 and demolished in 2015).
Small Shinto shrine on the grounds of Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden
Vermilion arched footbridge over the pond of Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden
Immediate post-War development so polluted the Sumida River that the grounds virtually died. They were restored in 1971.
Unlike Kiyosumi Teien Gardens a little further south in Fukagawa, Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden is a public park and therefore free.
The Japanese Sword Museum is on one corner of the grounds of Kyu-Yasuda Teien Gardens and is free to enter. Only the third-floor exhibition space requires an entrance fee.
Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden1-12-1 Yokoami Sumida-kuTokyoOpen every day 9am-4.30pm (until 6pm from June to August). Closed Dec 29-Jan 1. Free entry.
Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden is five minutes' walk from the West Exit of Ryogoku Station.
Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden Video
Watch a YouTube video of Kyu-Yasuda Teien Gardens, with a traditional music performance and visitors in kimono.
The Kokugikan stadium is right next door to Kyu-Yasuda Teien Garden, and is most famous for hosting Japan's most important sumo tournaments. The excellent Edo Tokyo Museum is also next to the Garden.
Near Kyu-Yasuda Teien Gardens is the spacious and pleasant Yokoamicho Park, with a special historical twist.