What is now know as Komaba Koen, the largest ward-managed park in Tokyo, was originally the estate of Taisho and early Showa period diplomat and official, Marquis Maeda. The Maeda family were the wealthy and powerful daimyo of the Kaga region during the Edo period. (Kaga is now the region in which Kanazawa, famous for its Kenrokuen gardens, is located). Following the Meiji Restoration, the Maeda became senior members of the new national government. The estate was built on the grounds of the Komaba Agricultural School with two homes were built: a large European-style one in 1929 and a large Japanese-style one in 1930. Maeda lived in the European house. The Japaense house was primarily used to entertain foreign guests, in particular those from England, where Maeda had served as a diplomat. The garden on this site is located in the rear of the house, visible from both the living room and two bedrooms. The garden consists of a narrow, grassy foreground, rising through boulders, a stream and dense trees as the eye moves toward the rear.
Following Maeda's death in World War II, the estate was sold, but was snatched up GHQ duirng the Occupation, during which it served as a residence for senior members of the Occupation forces. The national government purchased the site in 1958 and it was opened as a Tokyo city park in 1967. Meguro Ward took over management of the park in 1957, and the original European house became the Tokyo Museum of Modern Literature shortly thereafter. The first floor of the Japanese house is open to the public and the garden can be viewed from here, though this is not a tourist attraction and it appears to be used by the local community as much as anyone else. Unlike many of the highly trafficked gardens in Kyoto and Tokyo, this garden and home retain the quiet atmosphere of a private residence.
The house can be reached by taking the Inokashira subway line to Komaba-Todai-Mae station. The park is a 10-15 minute walk about 1 kilometer to the NW.
Looking afar at Qiantang Bridge,
I watch a green train
snip off the wind