One of the gardens that I really wanted to see was Rikugi-en. The guidebook describes it as "Tokyo's best surviving example of a classical Edo-period stroll garden." It was created in 1695, and areas of the garden were designed to reflect real or imaginary scenes from ancient Japanese poetry. After all these years, of course, only 18 of the 88 original scenes have survived. I know nothing about ancient Japanese poetry, but I figured that maybe there would be an English brochure available which would explain those 18 surviving scenes. Also, the picture in the guidebook was lovely.

Things looked promising in the beginning. When I emerged from the subway, there was a sign pointing in the direction of the park. Much, much later, I was hot, tired, thirsty, and frustrated, and I still hadn't found the park although I had wandered around the area in every direction. There was even a map near the subway, but there was only a row of stores where the map indicated that the park was located. Finally, in a last burst of desperation, I followed a group of people down what looked like an alley next to a Seven Eleven, and there, FINALLY, I found the park. There was no English brochure, so I never did learn about those scenes. There was a charming little tea house, though, where I enjoyed a cold glass of matcha (thick green tea).