Thursday, December 16, 2010

Momiji Festival At Showa Kinen Park


Perfect weather for a visit to the park.

One popular spots to look for autumn foliage during the fall season in Tokyo is Showa Kinen Park (国営昭和記念公園), located in Tachikawa City. Of the sixteen national government park in total, this park is considered the leading one in Japan, drawing attention as the most up-to-date leisure spot in Tokyo. From its name, one would be able to guess that the park should have something to do with Emperor Showa. It was established as a park of a project to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Showa's reign.

The Koyou Matsuri (紅葉祭り) was held for approximately two weeks in November last month, and I took the opportunity to visit this park to have some photography session of the autumn foliage. Besides the main ones like ginkgo (イチョウ) and  Japanese maple (イロハモミジ), other trees include Chinese tallow tree (ナンキンハゼ) and Lindera (クロモジ), which are the main trees that attract the most attention during the fall season.


The main entrance of the park - Akebono Entrance.


There are four rows of ginkgo trees, 106 trees in total along this 200-meter stretch, known as "The Canal".


An old couple came and asked me what was I doing when I was attempting this shot, only to answer it herself, "Ohhh, you're taking the picture of the leaves" lol!


The Ginkgo Tree Avenue is at the background.


This shot reminds me of the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.


There are five fountains at this western garden-like square. 

I purposely chose a weekday to visit this park, thinking that I will be able to avoid the sea of people on the weekends. However, there was still a considerably big crowd on the day I went, which was a Thursday. Most of them were from the golden generations though. Not surprising at all because these people are so damn free.

I bet they are too bored sitting at home, hence they started picking up their phones and calling their friends for an outing at the park.


A close-up shot of the bright red Japanese maple.


Some interesting wooden art work at the Fureai Field (Friendship Field).


Walking a little bit further took me to the Waterfowl Lake.


There is a bird sanctuary for bird watching, while peddle boats and rowboats are available at the boat house.


Spotted a few people who made the beautiful scenery of the lake as their inspiration for their drawing.


A small path that goes around the lake.


This area is like a swamp, full with Japanese iris.


A small pond with lotus that is connected to the bigger lake in the background.

The park is extremely huge that it takes more than half-an-hour just to walk from one end to the other. For a person like me whose main purpose of going there was to snap photographs, it took me three or four times longer. In the end, I realised that I spent almost half a day by the time I finished exploring the whole park. Fortunately, the weather was very kind to me. Except for some light shower in the evening, it was sunny throughout the afternoon and it wasn't too cold as well.

Besides the blazing yellow ginkgo trees at the "Ginkgo Tree Avenue", another spot that attract visitors for it amazing scenery is the two rows of ginkgo trees at the sports area.


There are 98 ginkgo trees in total along this 300-meter stretch.


See, told you already. In every ten people I saw in the park that day, nine of them were from this generation haha!


Photo number-two of me in this entry. Don't worry, I won't pollute it with too many of my photos lol!

Another popular spot during the autumn at Showa Kinen Park is the highly expressive Japanese Garden, called "Nihon-teien" (日本庭園). This magnificent garden shows the natural beauty of four seasons while employing Japanese traditional gardening techniques. This garden showcases a typical Japanese-style garden, which contains a pond in the centre. There is also a tea house in this garden that provides tea ceremony for visitors.

Of the four seasons in a year, I believe autumn is the best time to visit this garden.


A small stream that flows through the garden, into the pond in the middle.


The small concrete bridge attracted the attention of many photographers.


The tea house, called "Kanfutei", where tea ceremonies are carried out on reservation.


Red leaves and rooftop.


A mixture of red and orange maple canopy.


Fallen maple leaves in the water.


I would say this garden is a lot better than Momijien in Nagaoka.


Bamboo trees at another different section of the garden.


A wooden house that acts as a viewing deck of the garden.


 The water wasn't moving and it provides a great surface for an almost-perfect reflection.


One of the most breathtaking garden I have visited in Japan.


There is a wooden bridge that goes over the pond.


A small swampy area that has the Japanese iris.


It wasn't the flowering season of the Japanese iris, otherwise this photo would look more colourful than the rainbow.


A small "island" at the pond.


They were fixing wooden trunks on the tree to get ready for winter. They call this "yuki-tsuri" (雪吊).


The stones made me feel like hopping on them haha!


Just look at the reflection on the water.


The Japanese garden from another section.


Different spots give different angle to the photo, but they still look amazingly beautiful.

The Bonsai Garden is located just next to the Japanese Garden. Here, fine examples of bonsai plants considered art donated by bonsai enthusiasts from all over Japan are on display throughout the year. There are about 80 bonsai plants of different varieties and shapes displayed in this garden.

One common question people might ask about bonsai is why are the bonsai trees so small. The reasons are because trees don't grow large because they are cultivated in small pots, their roots are restricted and growers regularly clip new buds, branches and roots.


Shelves of bonsais at the exhibition area


Japanese white pine, which is estimated to be sixty-years old.


A comparison of two plants of the same species but different age - Standard 7 and Standard 13 lol!


A great spot to savour the tranquility of nature.


This stream looks very much like the one I saw at the Botanic Garden in Christchurch.


My grandma would definitely love this - lemon grass stock for a year haha! This plant is known as Pampas Grass, a tall grass native to southern South America.


An open field, which is twice as large as Tokyo Dome. There is a symbol tree, Zelkova tree, which is more than 100-years-old, and more than 200 cherry blossom trees, poppies and cosmos at this area.


The park train, for more convenient movement around the park.

Too bad this train only goes around the park, otherwise I would have taken it to return home haha!


Kae Vin said...

this is tranquilly beautiful!!

Ken said...

世外桃源! Picturesque! The view really looks like a painting. One of the most beautiful garden I've ever seen (as if I've seen many gardens in my life). Hahahaha...

The ginkgo tree avenue looks like those seen in Korean drama.

Btw, gonna show this post to my mom (with some signals). LOL

DT said...

hahaha.. most likely the golden generation invited their friends along for a visit to the park on a weekday because they heard a visiting "elephant" would be at the garden and took the opportunity to see the gigantic "elephant" against the beautiful backdrop of red and golden hues..... ;)

btw the pics looks great and the beautiful colors of autumn is simply lovely....

did u photoshop the colors of the pixs?

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
yup, thanks to the good weather as well =)

p/s: wanna add this park to your places-to-visit list next spring? xD

calvin said...

@ ken:
yeah, like i said, words cannot describe how beautiful the park is, especially the japanese garden. the photos turned out to be so much better than i thought and i could feel the satisfaction from this worthy outing =)

haha! what do you mean "with some signals"? =P

calvin said...

@ dt:
hahaha! what a way to rephrase my sentence lol! but luckily that "elephant" didn't destroy the trees like what i dreamed before!

i have to admit that i am a photoshop noob, so none of the photos are photoshopped. however, i did adjust their contrast, brightness and saturation using picasa :)

DT said...

ic... anyway the pixs looks really great. Hope to see some nice pics of scenery during deep winter.. :)

calvin said...

@ dt:
let me drop a hint here. expect the unexpected for the winter version =P

DT said...

hmmm... expect the unexpected.... u going to hokkaido to sky and to take pics of the frozen winter...?

DT said...

i mean ski not sky

calvin said...

@ dt:
oppss, i'm afraid to say that it's totally the opposite xD

Anonymous said...

haiya calv u take modelling classes ka how u do that same pose in both of the photo haha xD..
btw kenapa you tak naik the 'hogwarts express' lol!!

DT said...

hmmm opposite.. :) u coming back to malaysia. :P

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
now that you mentioned it, i only realised about that hehe. actually, my pose in all three photos are the same. have to think of new pose next time already :P

hmmm, that train is too small to fit an elephant like me haha!

calvin said...

@ dt:
very interesting answer =P

sakura said...

wow.. very very nice photos
(btw, it's been a long time since i read blogs, so i'm reading ur blogs in 'terbalik' sequence, ie latest -> oldest.. haha..

calvin said...

@ sakura:
one of the first few batches of photos taken using my new camera :D

yeah, i could tell that. but isn't it nice that you can get the travelling-against-time kinda feeling =P