On a beautiful warm November day, I discovered Tokyo University’s Sanshiro-ike garden. I had a few moments before a meeting, and saw on the campus map that there was a central garden on the main campus. I had assumed it would be a formal garden.
I was very surprised to descend a small hillside and encounter this natural looking pond. Looking in all directions, one sees only trees, water and sky, despite the compact size of the garden. Even on a warm weekend day with early fall foliage, few visitors were there. I was enchanted by the incredibly natural and removed-from-the-city feeling in this garden inside central Tokyo and Japan’s most famous university.
It takes a lot of artifice to make a city garden look so natural. The waterfall is amazing.
Continue reading to see some more images from Tokyo University, aka Todai.
Like Aoyama Gakuin, Todai in parts looks more Ivy League than the real thing, as if the signifier surprasses the signified. Another building combines mid-century modernism with earthquake retrofitting that shows off engineering skills matched with a keen aesthetic.
And finally I was captivated by this uncanny sight, viewed from the first floor of an academic building peering down into the basement. What bizarre experiment was going on? Did this lab’s water channel contain spare body parts or some other futuristic invention?
Todai is a remarkable mix of retro and future, nature and built environment, nerdiness and magic.
(Photos taken on November 21, 2009)