Kyu-Furukawa Gardens

Kyu-Furukawa Gardens (旧古河庭園) is a Tokyo metropolitan park in Nishigahara, Kita ward. In 2006 it was designated by the Japanese Government as a place of scenic beauty, as an example of an extant modern-period garden that has been extremely well preserved.

It was completed in 1919 as the main residence of the Furukawa family, owner of one of Japan’s ten major zaibatsu business conglomerates. Furukawa zaibatsu specialized in mining, electronics, and chemicals industry before World War II. Now, the predominant companies are Fuji Electric and Furukawa Electric as well as Fujitsu, FANUC, and Advantest. Other well-known companies include Yokohama Rubber.

The main characteristic of the park is the wonderful harmony between the Japanese-style and western-style gardens that take excellent advantage of the differences in elevation of the Musashino Terrace (the tableland in Kanto region).
The western-style residence and garden were designed by Josiah Condor (1852-1920), the English architect who designed many western-style buildings in Japan. Ogawa Jihei VII, also known as Ueji (1860-1933), a famous designer of Japanese gardens from Kyoto, created the Circuit-style Japanese garden and Tea garden, which features a chashitsu, or tea house.

Photos: Junko Nagata ©

The western garden is a complex of Italian style and geometric French style rose garden.

“Yuki-tsuri” is a Japanese technique for preserving trees and shrubs from heavy snow. Trees are given extra support by bamboo poles with ropes attached to limbs. In regions where snow doesn’t fall much it functions as a decoration and seasonal marker.

General admission to Kyu-Furukawa Gardens is 150 yen. The park is open daily 9am-5pm. It is 7 minutes walk from Kami-Nakazato Station on the JR Keihin-Tοhoku Line or Nishigahara Station on the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line.  Alternatively it is 15 minutes walk from Komagome Station on the JR Yamanote Line.