Away from the madding crowd

New Straits Times - - Jom! -

It is best to start with the Edo Fuk­a­gawa Mu­seum. The dis­plays are mostly mono­lin­gual (Ja­panese only), but an English­s­peak­ing guide is avail­able to lead groups of for­eign vis­i­tors through the per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tions.

The gem is at the base­ment where there is a full-size Edo-era neigh­bour­hood by the Su­mida River. Vis­i­tors are al­lowed to wan­der in­side the lo­cal res­i­dents’ houses (shoes off, please!). There is a com­mu­nal out­house, a por­ta­ble noo­dle stall, an out­post and a neigh­bour­hood cat that has been me­ow­ing since the mu­seum was opened in 1961!

The dis­trict is also known for its Kiyosumi Teien, or Kiyosumi Gar­den, a tra­di­tional Ja­panese land­scape gar­den, de­signed and con­structed in the Meiji pe­riod in the late 19th cen­tury.

A tem­ple near Kiyosumi Teien.

With a small lake in the cen­tre, the gar­den has­step­ping stones, stone paths and stone bridges.

Kiyosumi Teien is pop­u­lar among lo­cal vis­i­tors, who come to in­dulge in land­scape paint­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, leisurely strolls and a pic­nics.

A sense of soli­tude en­velopes the gar­den’s perime­ter. Cheery yet sooth­ing sounds of var­i­ous types of birds that have called the gar­den their habi­tat are heard. It’s hard to fathom that it’s lo­cated just next to a busy main street!

Walk­ing through the quiet neigh­bour­hood mainly pop­u­lated by small, closely spaced abodes with in­ter­est­ing fa­cades brings me to the main shop­ping street of the dis­trict.

Not a tourist haunt, the wares and spe­cialty on sale are geared to­wards the lo­cals.

Kiyosumi Teien is a tra­di­tional Ja­panese

land­scape gar­den.

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