Why Not Visit One Hundred Scenes of Shinagawa?
Gotenyama Area - Part 10 -
Spring is cherry blossom season, and viewing cherry blossoms is a popular custom in Japan.
The Gotenyama area has been a famous spot for cherry blossom viewing since the Edo Period. Although there is quite a distance from Osaki New City to Gotenyama, why not step out and enjoy cherry blossoms on a leisurely stroll?
|Osaki New City (1-6 Osaki)
JR Osaki Station and Osaki New City are linked by O pedestrian walkway. New City consists of five buildings, including a shopping mall, hotel and three office buildings. Along with O Art Museum and O Patio, the area is crowded with people enjoying shopping. If you walk across the connecting bridge next to New City, you will find Gate City Osaki. Consisting of two tall buildings, the higher levels are offices and the lower levels, which are open to the public, have floors of shops collectively called Gate City Plaza.
||Shimizu Inari Jinja Shrine (5-9-18 Kita-Shinagawa)
If you proceed out of New City and cross the bridge over the Meguro-gawa River. In this issue, we will head downstream while enjoying the cherry blossoms along the Meguro-gawa River.
Near Iruki-bashi there is a tall glass building. Near the building there is a little shrine with a red torii gate. This is Shimizu Inari Jinja Shrine, so named because according to legend, fresh water (shimizu) sprung forth in this area. Standing next to the high-rise building, the shrine makes an interesting scene, contrasting the old and the new.
|Tokai-ji Temple Oyama Cemetery (4-11-8 Kita-Shinagawa)
On the northern side of the high-rise building is Gotenyama. You can proceed along the street beside the building and climb up, but today let’s take a longer route. If you walk along Yamanote-dori Street, cross over the JR guard rail and keep going, you will reach the monument of the original location of the government operated Shinagawa Glass Factory. Alongside, there is a small path leading to Shinagawa along the railway tracks.
When you reach the dead end and climb up the stone steps on the side, you will see a cemetery. On one side of the cemetery, you can see bullet trains running by with high-rise buildings in the background.
In this cemetery is the grave of the Buddhist priest Takuan (which is designated as a national historic relic site), who is said to have come up with the idea of pickling daikon radishes into what is today called Takuan-zuke, a favorite type of tsukemono pickle. The grave of Masaru Inoue, the “Father of the Japanese Railway,” who started the first railway in Japan from Shimbashi to Yokohama, is also in this cemetery, located in a position that protectively watches over the bullet trains running by.
||Famous Cherry Blossom Spots of Gotenyama (4-8 Kita-Shinagawa)
Let’s return the way we came and climb up the hill behind the high-rise. It is said that Gotenyama was so named because there was a Shogun’s palace (goten) on this hill. The area was famous for its scenery during the Edo Period, especially as a spot for viewing cherry blossoms, and has been used in many ukiyo-e paintings. Even today, Gotenyama is a peaceful residential area that has a lot of natural greenery, as well as high-rise office buildings, luxurious rental housing, city hotels and Japanese gardens. The row of cherry blossom trees in front of the Embassy of Myanmar is also very scenic.
The Japanese garden adjacent to the hotel is very well tended. In the rich natural greenery, you can hear the twitter of birds. Since it is open to the public, many people go to visit the garden during the cherry blossom season and in the autumn.
|Hara Museum of Contemporary Art (4-7-25 Kita-Shinagawa)
Since there are many ways to enjoy the Gotenyama area, which offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, it is probably a good idea to take your time enjoying a leisurely stroll there. Why not also stop by the Hisui Genseki-kan (Jade Museum) and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art?
Renovating the former Hara residence, which was built in 1938, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art was opened in 1979 as a museum specializing in contemporary art. The museum exhibits a variety of works ranging from the masters of the Western world to the spirited artists working in the frontlines today. The upcoming exhibition is “Tokyo Blossoms: Deutsche Bank Collection meets Zaha Hadid,” and it will be held from March 25 (Sat.) through May 21 (Sun.).
| Although we can return from Gotenyama the way we came, you can try the path towards Shinagawa Station since it is close by. The entire walk described here (excluding time spent at museums, etc.) takes about an hour and a half, walking at a leisurely pace.
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