This Japanese garden is located adjacent to Meiji Jingu Shrine, one of Tokyo's leading tourist spots. In the early 17th century, this place was the site of the main Edo mansion of the Kato family, a daimyo feudal lord of Kumamoto Domain, but later was handed over to the Ii family, a daimyo feudal lord of Hikone Domain. Right after the end of the shogunate system in the middle of the 19th century, when Japan's modernization started, the mansion was transfered to the jurisdiction of the Imperial Household Agency. With the change of capital from Kyoto to Tokyo, the young Emperor Meiji moved from Kyoto to Tokyo, making Edo Castle, the residence of the successive Tokugawa shoguns for about 250 years, the new Imperial Palace. He extensively renovated the garden near the new Imperial Palace for the Empress in delicate health and made it a circuit style garden exclusively for her. Because the garden is for such a purpose, garden stones and trees are not used much, and the promenade as well as minimal simple wooden buildings are arranged while utilizing the original topography. The first photo shows the pond where the Empress is said to have enjoyed fishing, and the second shows the flower iris garden, which was renovated from what was originally a paddy field. After the death of the Emperor Meiji, there were discussions about where to build a shrine to honor him and the Empress, and the current site adjacent to this garden, which had close ties to both of them, was selected.
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