Last week, I went to go see some roses before the rose season was over. I was motivated by my boss, who advised me to go see the roses while they were still at their best.
I tried to find a garden not *too* far away, and from a list of rose gardens on Google settled on this one, mainly for the magnificent building that was in the backdrop. It happened to be in a very convenient location for me to get to, so the decision was made. It was a nice way for me to celebrate being (mostly) done with filling out my tax forms :)
The garden is called Kyu-Furukawa Teien (旧古河庭園). From May 12-21 they were having a rose festival, which meant that the garden was open extra hours at night for a light-up! I hadn’t thought about it, but when I finished looking around during daylight hours. I walked toward the exit and then realized from a pamphlet that not only was there a light-up, it was the LAST NIGHT for it, too. It was 16:30 and the sun wouldn’t set until around 18:30…well, two hours was an awkward time gap to fill, but I went to a nearby park and read for an hour, and then had dinner at Sukiyaki before heading back in. (Had to pay twice, but it’s only ¥150 to get in.)
Kyu-Furukawa Teien was really crowded, as you would expect from a nice Tokyo flower-viewing location with good selfie opportunities, but everyone was there to enjoy the flowers, and I felt like everyone was having a good time. I think I bumped into a few people, but it was because there were too many pretty flowers to stare at and I forgot to watch where I was going ><
In addition to the Japanese garden, rose garden, and residence, there was a green area that you could enter through a gate if you wanted to have green tea and sweets. I partly just wanted to take a picture, but I went in for the green tea, which was prepared and served to us as we sat in s circle on tatami mats. I came alone, so I felt a little awkward, but the green tea was wonderful, and drinking tea in a Japanese garden is the best way to enjoy it :)
On the wall behind me and the other tea-drinkers, there was a scroll that read 「一期一会」(ichigo ichie) or “one time, one meeting.” This site has a bunch of different ways to express that idea, but the gist of it is that each experience and meeting is unique, so you ought to treasure it. An older lady in our group commented on it, saying it was a good word. I didn’t get into any conversations there, but I felt like everyone enjoying the tea and the garden together that afternoon made it a rich experience.
The whole place transforms at night, and I’m definitely glad I waited and went back in. I felt like I was in a detective movie spying on roses sometimes, the way they were lit up like that in the dark >:D
When the sun had set, I heard music, and later when I went back around to the front of the house, there were lots of people crowded around the porch area to listen to a lady playing a harp live for us. It was so relaxing–and when she finished, an elderly lady in a back room began to perform a piano piece. It was an unexpected delight.
♪ Norah Jones, “I Don’t Know Why”–my soundtrack for the day. I used this for a listening lesson at work, and it was still on my phone, but turned out to be a perfect background for a day at the rose garden :)