YOKU-ON-EN GARDEN. The Yoku-on-En, forming until recent years one of the attractions of the capital, occupied a site presented by the Shogun, in 1793, to Shirakawa Shosho, the Daimio of Kuwana. Much skill and creative fancy appear to have been bestowed upon its elaborate design. It is said to have contained fifty-two noted views, under which head are included several rare garden structures in the Chinese style,ï¿½for it must be understood that the views of a Japanese landscape garden include not only scenes and prospects, but special objects of beauty, or of romantic and historical interest. They may be enumerated as follows,ï¿½the poetical Japanese names being in this case given as well as their approximate translations:ï¿½Chitose-no-hama (Beach of a Thousand Years); Chiyo-no-iwa-hashi (Eternal Bridge of Rock); Kinugasa-yanagi (Silken Canopy Willow); Iroka-no-sono (Garden of Colour and Fragrance); Ariyake-no-ura (Coast of Ariyake),ï¿½a famous sea view in Harima; Yakoe-no-hashi (Sunset Bridge)ï¿½or literally, "the Bridge of the Eight Crow-cries," a poetical allusion to the cawing of the crows at sunset; Ni-O-no-kayoiji (Road of the Two Deva Kings); Nishiki-ga-shima (Island of Rich Embroidery); Nagori-tio-shima (Island of Leave-taking); Harukaze-no-ike (Lake of the Spring Breezes); Sazanami-no-tani (Wavelet Valley),ï¿½refer ring to the waving grasses; Utsugi-no-seki (Boundary of Deutzia Trees); Tsukimatsu-rira (Coast for Awaiting the Moon-rise); Hayama-no-seki (Boundary of Thick Foliage); Hana-no-shita-michi (Path beneath the Flowers); Sakura-ga-fuchi (Cherry-tree Pool); Hana-no-kakehashi (Bridge amid Flowers)ï¿½meaning; a light mountain bridge with surrounding wild flowers; Take-no-hosomichi (Narrow Path through Bamboos); Takaoka-yama (High Plateau Mountain); Tsuki-to-sato (Moonlight View Hamlet)ï¿½meaning literally, "the hamlet for communing with the moon;" Shinonome-no-ura (Coast of the Early Dawn); Yukari-no-ya (House of Fond Attachment)ï¿½an expressive word is here used which implies home-sickness; Shirasagi-no-hashi (Bridge of the White Crane); Yamabuki-no-seki (Boundary of the Kerria Flowers); Irone-no-yamaji (Flower-strewn Mountain-road); Tamamo-no-ike (Lake of Bounty)ï¿½the term used implies a gift from a superior; Tamamo-no-yama (Hill of Bounty); Chiyo-no-hosomichi (Eternal Narrow Path); Kazashi-no-yama (Flower-clad Peak); or literally "the decorated mountain," Misogi-zaka (Steps of Misogi)ï¿½a famous shrine, Hatm-aki-no-mori (Forest of the Early Autumn); Kuchinashi-yama (Hill of Gardenia florida); Kuchinashi-saki (Cape of Gardenia florida); Minato-da (Harbour Rice-fields); Funa-yama (Boat-shaped Hill); Matsu-no-kojima (Pine-tree Islet); Akikaze-no-ike (Lake of the Autumn Winds); Sennin-no-fuchi (The Magicians' Pool); Momiji-no-shita-michi (Path beneath the Maple-trees); Otome-ga-saki (Angel's Cape); Ajiro-ga-ura (Plaited Coast)ï¿½ in allusion to the appearance of the fishermen's nets spread out on the sandy beach; Kuzurezu-no-kishi (Overhanging Cliff)ï¿½literally, a cliff-head almost crumbling away; Torii-ga-saki (Cape of the torii]; Tokiwa-jima (Evergreen Island); Kakiwa-jima (Dotted Islands); Yanagi-ga-ura (Coast of the Willow-trees); Mahagi-ga-seki (Boundary of Lespedeza flowers); Obana-no-tsutsumi (Bank of Flowering Grasses); Chigusa-no-sono (Garden of many Plants); Harushiru-sato (Spring-revealing Hamlet)ï¿½having reference to the surrounding view in spring-time; Akikaze-no-hama (Beach of Autumn Winds); and Kazaori-yama (Wind-dispersing Hill).
The garden contained an immense number of rare stones and trees, several quaint structures, plum groves, cherry groves, bamboo groves; besides chrysanthemums, peonies, and numerous specimens of the azalea, kerria, Spirï¿½a contoniensis, Senecio kosmpferi, and Hieracium umbellatum, disposed in banks and beds in different parts of the grounds. A portion was laid out in the Chinese style, with numerous dwarf palms. The islets of the lake were planted with stunted pine trees, to typify the natural scenery of Matsushima* (Matsushima,ï¿½a group of rocky pine-clad islands near Sendai forming one of the most beautiful sea-views in Japan.).