The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter1. History

Akasaka Rikyu 3

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To the south of this bed of irises is a deep clear lake, poetically called Sekisui-Chi, or the Cerulean Lake. Surrounding hills of evergreens and trees that redden in the autumn reflect their foliage into the mirror below. It may here be mentioned that the Japanese have a single expressive word Koyo which is applied to the crimson and golden foliage of certain trees in autumn. Sycamores, maples, oaks, ashes, and certain varieties of the Rhus, Eunonymus, Edgeworthia, and Ginkgo, are the principal trees of mellowing leaf. Certain rural spots are yearly visited to enjoy the sight of the rich colouring assumed by the wooded hills and glades in October, and no garden of importance is complete without some copy in miniature of such autumnal scenery. Two parallel arched bridges, bearing the name of "Rainbow Bridges," span the lake, and on the further side a plantation of cryptomeria and pine trees have been planted so as to suggest scenery on the road to Kamakura. Winding paths of rough stone steps lead up the neighbouring eminences to other objects of interest, in the shape of an antique mossy well, named after the poet Saigio, and a building called Gi-Shun-Kwan, or the Hall of the Lovely Spring-time. From this commanding spot the greater portion of the garden can be seen,�a prospect at all times charming, but specially so in spring and early summer. To the west appears the flower garden Rokwa-En, to the south the garden lake flanked by wooded hills, and in other quarters, according to the season, may be seen groves of blossoming plum and cherry trees, beds of irises and flowering water-plants, and banks of blazing azalea bushes and maples.