In Japan, some gardens may open at night during the peak time of autumn foliage. Such gardens are usually packed with people and it is often prohibited to use tripods. You know, taking photos at night without a tripod is extremely difficult. But I found that Higo Hosokawa Garden in Tokyo allowed you to use tripods even at the peak time of autumn foliage. This is a historic garden of Hosokawa clan so the garden is very beautiful. You will see magnificent and gorgeous autumn colours during day time. And seeing them at night gives you another aspect of beauty of the autumn foliage. This year, they opened the garden in the evening at the end of November when the trees with autumn colours were light up.
The good thing about Higo Hosokawa Garden is that although their autumn foliage is gorgeous, the garden is not so crowded. And the admission is unbelievably free of charge if you visit there during day time. Even if you go there in the evening when they light up the autumn foliage, it costs you only ¥300.
Mystic Garden and Yukitsuri
There is a pond in the centre of the garden. If you visit there in day time, you may not notice but the surface of the water looks like a mirror and it reflects the trees around the pond. The trees are lit up and look very beautiful. The garden is full of mystic atmosphere.
Some of the trees have a kind of skeletons of umbrellas. The skeleton-like things hold the branches of the trees. This is the way people protect trees during winter time where it has heavy snow like Hokuriku Region. The skeleton hold the branches so that they don’t break even if the snow pile up on the branches. It is called Yukitsuri.
Experiment of Autumn Foliage Photography
I don’t know why there were not so many people in the garden. Perhaps it is because Higo Hosokawa Garden is not as famous as other prominent garden like Rikugien and Korakuen. But anyway, I could enjoy the beautiful autumn foliage without being forced to keep moving slowly all the time. I could stop and take photos whenever I like. As for the tripods, as far as you use them unfolded, it was OK.
So I tried a filter of 4 stars. This filter adds a romantic taste. I took some more photos with a 4 stars filter and I also used a 8 stars filter. But the below photos are the only ones I like. I need more practice!
Craftwork on Bamboos
There are installations of bamboos in the garden. The bamboos are curved and lit up. They create another mystic world.
This decoration of bamboos reminds me of pumpkin curving at Van Cortlandt Manor in Crotonville, the suburbs of New York City. Every year during Halloween season, they decorated bamboo curving which are lit up at night. Both bamboo curving in Higo Hosokawa Garden and pumpkin curving in Van Cortlandt Manor in Crotonville are worth looking under the cold weather.
More Information on Higo Hosokawa Garden
Address: 1-22 Mejirodai 1-chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Admission: Free of charge (When they allow you to enter in the evening when the garden is lit up, you may have to pay ¥300.)
Opening Hrs: 9am – 5pm (until 4:30pm from November to January) Closed from 28 December until 4 January.
Access: 15 minute walk from Edogawabashi Station of Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line