Tag Archives: garden

Japan: Bridges in a Park

So there was this park that wasn’t in any guidebook online I could find; you really have to be searching for it specificaly. It’s called Koraku park near Korakuen station or Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens. It is actually designated a historical asset and of special historical significance. Each scene in the park is meant to recreate a scene from somewhere in Japan. The red bridge immediately draws your eye. It is a recreation of the Tsutenkyo Bridge from the Kyoto temple Tofukuji. Many of the views of the bridge are partially obscured from other viewpoints and looking up at this bridge didn’t really highlight anything so this is my favourite view that shows the red popping amidst the green, but also gives some movement to the picture as it leads your eye off to the other side.

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The full moon bridge is named because when the river below is high, you get a reflection of a full moon from the bridge’s arch. This is actually recreating Seiko Park from China. I tried photographing it from all angles, similar to the red bridge above, but in this case, simple was best. Head on to show the gracefulness of the lines of the bridge.

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Travel: Kew Gardens Orchids

Allergic to flowers? trees? grass? Doesn’t matter, take an anti-histamine and visit Kew anyway. I can’t remember what got me interested in Kew Gardens. The first time I visited London, I asked my friends if we could go and frankly, I don’t think any of us were that impressed. It had been a dry summer and the lawn just inside the gates was nothing to write home about. However, the glasshouses (greenhouses) blew me away and still do to this day. I don’t think I’d really seen a glasshouse before then. I loved the wrought-iron spiral staircases painted in white amongst the dark palm trees. And the tropical plants reminded me of home (Jamaica, not Canada!) even though I couldn’t quite properly remember them in their natural settings.

When I returned to live in London, I volunteered at Kew and it was wonderful to belong to the team! To wear the t-shirt that said “Kew” and the badge that said “volunteer” and to get the discount in the cafe! Although, when we were first given our uniforms, I was not enthused about wearing trousers that came up to my armpits (slight exaggeration) – it reminded me of the time I tried on men’s jeans by mistake and couldn’t quite understand why it fit so poorly.

I’m not sure what impresses me about Kew more – the size is enormous (travelling tip #456: don’t try to do everything in one day unless you really have all day and blister packs), the magnitude of the flora on the grounds is mind-blowing, the beauty is astounding (travelling tip #23: always have your camera ready) and the volunteer guides are remarkable.

Let me give you one example – the annual display of orchids (in Feb-Mar) is just stunning. I didn’t know that many types of orchids existed and seeing them enmass takes your breath away. These photos are from their 250th anniversary celebration but they do a similar, but smaller display every year.