Hakone Gardens

Since we haven’t been going on vacation during the pandemic, we’ve been instead taking the occasional day off here and there. We did so today and went out to breakfast and then to Hakone Gardens, a Japanese garden in the south bay. We’ve been a couple of times before, usually in the winter, which means not much was flowering, but I thought I read that they had some cherry trees in bloom now.

It turns out that there still isn’t much flowering, not the cherry trees, not the wisteria arbor, but it was generally greener than we’d seen before. And it was sunny but not too warm, which made for a nice outing.

Hakone Gardens main gate
The main gate

Due to COVID, they arranged the paths so you had only a single long path you could walk along (with two shortcuts), which probably makes sense when the place is busier, but on a Friday morning there were only a few other people visiting, and we didn’t pass or get passed by anyone else.

The “cultural exchange center” building was open, which I don’t recall it being before – but it’s been several years since our last visit. The main displays inside concerned the creation of the gardens between the two World Wars, and then the internment of the gardener and caretaker and his family in the Japanese concentration camps in which the United States imprisoned most residents of Japanese descent during World War II, as well as memories of a few other people of their or their parents’ imprisonment. This American shame has gotten more attention in recent years through the efforts of people like George Takei, and the photos and personal memories here were pretty moving.

We spent an hour or so walking the garden. Here are a few photos:

Michael in the wisteria arbor at Hakone Gardens
Me in the wisteria arbor
Panoramic view from the Moon Viewing House at Hakone Gardens
Panorama from the Moon Viewing House
The bamboo garden at Hakone Gardens
The bamboo garden
Waterfalls ay Hakone Gardens
Panorama from below the Moon Viewing House at Hakone Gardens
Panorama from below the Moon Viewing House

It was a nice outing. We ran a couple of errands, and played video games (remotely) with some friends later in the day. We’ve had a bunch going on recently so taking a vacation day to not do much of consequence was something we needed.

But now, to close things out, I’m sure what you really wanted in this entry was a close-up of me, so here you go!