Aritomo Yamagata was born in the current Yamaguchi Prefecture, to a samurai family from Hagi. Hagi is a town facing the Sea of Japan that is surrounded by mountains. The Abu River pouring from the mountain splits just around the town and divides into the Matsumoto River and the Hashimoto River. The garden of Chinzanso matches the image of the town of Hagi exactly. Flowing water travels around the garden like a tributary of the Abu River into Kanda Josui. From Kanda Josui, Waseda is like the Sea of Japan. Yamagata recreated his distant hometown in this Tokyo area using just the scenery.
The sea that Yamagata created in his garden reflects the sea that actually spread over Tokyo over 10,000 years ago during the Jomon period. It’s believed that the sea level at that time was 3 to 5 meters higher than it is today, and the cliffs of the current Chinzanso comprised the old Tokyo Bay. Bunkyo Ward, where Chinzanso is located, is now far from the sea, but shell mounds have been found in the excavated Jomon ruins which suggest a maritime lifestyle. Take a panoramic view of the garden from a distance-- surely you’ll feel the illusion of the sea.
Simply put, gardens are a natural space confined and designed by humans. But within that space, a grand atmosphere can be created and a new sense of time can be felt throughout generations. If you feel you're about to be swept away by your busy life, come back and visit this place again. The gentle flow of time awaits you here.