Visiting Holland Park, Part 1 – the Kyoto Garden

Despite the scares happened last week, London is still a safe and great place to live and visit. One such place I went a few days ago after delivering some Japanese sweet to Wasoukan Cafe (Notting Hill, London) was one of the Royal parks.

Holland Park

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It is Holland Park in the Kensington area of West London and it is not that I traveled to our Neighboring contry, the Netherlands. Although it is located in the middle of rich residential area, the park is wide spread and is composed of several different types of garden.

As soon as you enter from the main gate you unexpectedly face several palm trees. I think it is quite unusual as a Royal park.

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By going through you walk into a natural wood area that leads you to the main part of this park.

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Kyoto Garden

The most famous area in Holland Park is the ‘Kyoto Garden’.

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The entrance of this section looks pleasing and very authentic.

It is a Japanese Garden so it has to have a water feature of a ‘Koi’ Carp pond of course.

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The pond is surrounded by green. Unfortunately the ground is covered with lawn and not with ‘Koke’ moss like the Zen garden in Japan.

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This Kyoto Garden is quite small but it was built by professional Japanese ‘Niwashi’ Gardeners as a part of the Japan Festival in 1991 and it has all the elements of the Japanese Garden.

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The pond has a small water fall beyond stone bridge path.

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Two birds were enjoying posing for a snap shot.

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I’m afraid it did not look like the most looked after water feature. It was covered with too much algae. I hope it will get a thorough clean up before proper Spring arrives.

There are several traditionally Japanese features.

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Whilst walking around in the Kyoto Garden I occasionally heard a noise sounds like ‘Cooooong!’.

I looked for the source of the sound … and then I found it.

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It is a water feature called ‘Shishi-Odoshi’ with a bamboo pipe placed in the middle balancing like a Seesaw. One side of the bamboo pipe is cut open but the other side is closed so that it can hold some water inside which trickles down from above. When the water inside the pipe reaches to the amount that the pipe no longer can hold it flops down to release the water. When the pipe becomes empty the mouth of the pipe flips up again but the bottom of the pipe hits the stone placed right underneath it. ‘Cooooong!’ It is the time the sound is produced.

The name Shishi-Odoshi is created with two words. ‘Shishi’ means Wild boar (in this case. It sometime means a Lion too) and ‘Odoshi’ is from a verb ‘Odosu’ which means to scare. So Shishi-Odoshi is ‘something making a wild boar to scare’. The theory is that the ‘Cooong!’ sound it creates makes a wild boar scared so it won’t come closer to the garden.

Although it was middle of March and spring hadn’t arrived properly yet I was pleased to see there was one Cherry tree blossoming in a full ‘Sakura’ blooms.

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There are some more things I’d like to mention about the visit to Holland Park so my post continues.  🙂



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