©Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association
Time honored garden filled with abundant flowers, a reminder of flourished cultural exchanges in the Edo period.
During the eras of Bunka and Bunsei (1804-1830) when cultural life flourished among common town people in Edo (present Tokyo), a wealthy antique dealer named Sahara Kikuu took an initiative to open a flower garden for viewing pleasure of flower-bearing vegetation in particular, assisted by his friends with literary and artistic tastes and talents.
One theory has it that the name “Hyakkaen” was derived from the meaning “Garden where a hundred of flowers bloom four seasons of the year”. At the inception of the garden, it was mostly 360 plum trees, but to follow, well known plants quoted in Chinese and Japanese classics like “Shikyo” (the China’s oldest collection of poems) and “Manyo-shu” (the existing oldest collection of Waka poems in Japan) were collected until the garden provided flowers throughout the seasons. This is the only surviving flower garden of the Edo period to date.
In 1938, the garden was donated to the City of Tokyo by the owner for permanent preservation, and the city started a limited public opening with charge in the following year, 1939. In 1978, the garden was designated as the Place of Scenic Beauty and Historic Site of the nation under the Cultural Assets Preservation Law.
Sumida-ku, Tokyo 131-0032 – Japan