26 October, 2006

Autumn Rose Festival / Kyu Furukawa teien (Former Furukawa Garden)

People often call this garden "Furukawa teien", but the formal name is "Kyu Furukawa teien"(means "former Furukawa garden").

Originally, this place was owned by viscount Mutsu Munemitsu, major cabinet member of Meiji government. When Munemitsu's 2nd son married into Furukawa family who ran the Furukawa conglomerates, this place was passed on to Furukawa family. Furukawa built a western house and a western garden on the top of the hill. This western house and garden was designed by British architect Josiah Conder, the father of Japanese architecture. They also made a Japanese garden on the foot of the hill.
In Showa-era, the ownership was transferred from Furukawa family to Tokyo Metropolitan Government, and nowadays this garden has been opened to the public. It's very interesting garden. You would be surprised that western style and Japanese style are present simultaneously without any incongruity.

The autumn rose festival has been held at Frukawa teien till November 5th, and I(Shige) visited to take photos (Unfortunetely, Lee couldn't enter there).

It was gorgeous with full bloomed roses. Even for I'm not familiar with the gardening, I could imagine the enormous efforts must be needed to keep this wonderful roses.

There were many photographers all over the garden.

Under the woods behind the roses, there is a Japanese garden.

There are some small tea houses among the trees. You can enjoy a maccha green tea and sweets there.

Some leaves began to turn red and gold. I heard that the autumn leaves are also wonderful. You can enjoy it in mid or late Norvember.

Kyu Furukawa teien official HP(English / Japanese)
You can go there from Nishigahara of the subway Tokyo Metro, or Komagome of the Yamanote-line JR / the subway Tokyo Metro.
I'll visit there again on late November and report the autumn leaves.

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Blogger kazu said...

Yes, the rose flowers in Furukawa Garden is so beautiful, and the Furukawa Manshion is amazinly beautiful.
However to think of the fact that the family of Furukawa made money to build this manshion and the beautiful garden with the sacrifice of the farmers in Yanaka, Ibaragi Prefecture. The cupper mine of Furukawa was the source of the money, but the mining technology in 19th century Japan was so crude, that with the
toxicity of the cupper huge number of farmers were deprived of their farm land which was the only source of income for many.
The famous Congreeman Mr. Shyozo Tanaka, was one of the first environmental activist in Japanese history who tried to help the victimized farmers. He quit the Congress saying that noby in the Congress took it seriously to discuss the issue in the session. Mr. Tanaka sided with the farmers to the last day of his life. The government tried to "solve" the cupper poisoning issue by flooding the farmland to control the water flow in case of typhoons. This was not the true reason, and Tanaka stayed in the Yanaka village, which was flooded and officially abolished, in a small house built on the remaining small piece of land.
Now Yanaka became a huge park with a nice cycling courses, where we went to go roller skating two years ago. There part of the former Yanaka village, is prserved for the memory of the village and the struggle of Mr. Shozo Tanaka. In Japanese history, I respect Mr. Tanaka the most!

26/10/06 18:56  
Blogger Shige_d said...

Hi, Kazu. Thank you for your comment from very interesting view point.
As you mentioned, the case of "Ashio copper mine" and Mr Shozo Tanaka is even now very famous as the 1st environmental pollution issue in Japan. At that era, mining industries had been encouraged by the national policy, so Mr Shozo Tanaka and his colleagues had to fight against not only the mining company but also the prefectural government and Japanese government. It had to be tough!
Anyway, I didn't realize that the mining company was Furukawa's. Thank you for providing the information in detail.

27/10/06 12:13  
Blogger kazu said...

Due to the global warming, the change fo color of the leaves is getting later year by year. The peak season to enjoy red/yellow leaves in Kyoto is now already in December! How about in Tokyo? In Tokyo, in addition to the global warming effect, "heat-island" phenomenon is also delaying the change of the color of many tree leaves! Is this a warning to us?

1/11/06 12:51  
Blogger kazu said...

Hi, Shige! Yes, Furukawa family became rich by sacrificing many people. This included not only farmers but also mining workers in the cupper mines. Their work was indeed "slave" work (incluing the family of the workers). Anyway working condition in the mineral mines and the coal mines were more ore less the same in 19th century Japan. The life expectancy of the workers were not more than 40 years old, I heard in some mines in the 19th century.(This is still so in the diamond and gold mines in such county as South Africa, even after the liberation of Nelson Mandela!)

1/11/06 13:11  
Blogger kazu said...

Were you able to visit one of the tea houses there? Our family enjoyed the tea house at Sakura Castle in Chiba on October 9th.
The tea house was called "San-sho-tei" and the sweet before the tea was nice. The tea house was decorated with a flower arrangement using the wild flowers blooming in this castle park, and also the caligraphy there said "Have some tea, together."
It was an interesting experience, and if you have an opportunity I recommed you give it a try to the traditional tea houses.
Sorry for Lee. But he could have provide good fertilizers to the rose garden! (Joke only!)

1/11/06 18:27  
Blogger Shige_d said...

Hi,Kazu. It's Lee. I couldn't have any chance for fertilizing at all because I wasn't able to enter this garden. Yeah, he went there alone. Boo!

3/11/06 11:47  

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