Maruyama Park, Kyoto

In the center of Kyoto, inspiring natives and tourists alike with the beauty of nature and dotted with Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines, lays Maruyama Park. It is Kyoto’s version of New York City’s Central Park. Wendy and I walk regularly at home in Healdsburg. More than 45 years ago Wendy lived in Kyoto. One of my favorite mornings of the trip was when she took me to this park, early one morning, prior to the onset of tourists — when the park was quiet and only the sound of drum beats and a gentle wind could be heard. We walked for what seemed to be forever, passing nuns and ancient cemeteries and blossoming trees and flowers of all kinds, shapes, and colors. It was magical to be here in the quiet hours of daybreak. IMG_4901 IMG_4906 IMG_4914Maruyama Park was deserted and overgrown with shrubs and weeds until three hundred years ago. In 1886, it was designated as a park site at which time it was enlarged. In 1913, it was professionally designed by Jihei Ogawa, a landscape gardener who had previously designed the well-known gardens of Heian Shrine and Murin-an. We were told that it was a typical Japanese park especially noted for its big dropping cheery trees and various other varieties of these trees. To stroll through this park relatively alone at the height of cherry blossom season provides a memory to be cherished.IMG_4930 IMG_4931 IMG_4894IMG_4910