Shinjuku Gyoen

A Lesson in Mental Scenery: Shinjuku Gyoen

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A Lesson in Mental Scenery: Shinjuku Gyoen

In Makoto Shinkai’s film “The Garden of Words”, the scene is set in Shinjuku Gyoen during the rainy season. The movie is reputed to be more beautiful than the reality, and if you haven't viewed the film yet you should definitely take a watch it after your visit here. It beautifully rewrites everyday scenery. That is the strength of animation.

If you look at Shinjuku Gyoen historically, the place is similar to a botanical encyclopedia, which has gathered both domestic and foreign plants. Trees that melt into the landscape, with each one having a unique story. With spring, summer, fall, winter all representing the beauties of nature in seasonal changes. It is the only one of the three national gardens, and many feel that the citizens’ hearts are symbolized in the nature of its landscapes.

How do you see the scenery of Shinjuku Gyouen?

The landscape painter Kaii Higashiyama left these words, “Landscapes are the prayer of the human heart, a mirror of the heart. Ordinary landscapes are also full of life if your heart is pure”. You put your heart on the landscapes you meet. His description must be referring to “the journey to discover mental scenery”.

Now, in looking for mental scenery, what should you do? First you must know the context of the scene in front of you. In knowing a new story about a place your mental state can change and you may come view the scenes in front of you in a different light. That is the lesson of mental scenery. How do you see the scenery of Shinjuku Gyoen?

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