It is said that the mansion of Kinokuniya Bunzaemon, a legendary wealthy merchant in the latter half of the 17th century, originally stood here. After subsequent twists and turns, Yataro Iwasaki, the founder of the Mitsubishi Zaibatsu, built a Japanese garden here in 1878 for the purpose of recreation for Mitsubishi employees and entertainment of clients. This was the beginning of present Kiyosumi Garden. Thereafter, the garden was taken over by his successor, Yanosuke Iwasaki, and further improvements had been made.
The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, however, destroyed most of the houses in this vicinity by fire, but about 20,000 casualties fortunately evacuated to the garden because 4,000 trees planted in the garden worked as fire walls. The garden was donated to Tokyo municipal government after the earthquake and was opened to the public under the name of Kiyosumi Garden in 1932. This garden is a typical circuit style Japanese garden with promenades around a central pond with an island inside. Expensive and precious garden stones, large and small, which were purchased from all over the country by the Iwasaki family are arranged here and there.
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