Sotetsu (Sago Palm) at Niji-jo castle

Ninomaru teien (二の丸庭園 ) garden at Nijo-jo (二条城) castle has been repaired and modified little by little still today, ever since the renovation by Kobori Enshu (小堀遠州 - a master of tea ceremony, also known as an excellent garden designer) in the Edo period. The garden is designated as a place of special scenic beauty of Japan and it's surrounding buildings called Ninomaru Goten (二の丸御殿 - a group of castle buildings) of Syoin zukuri (書院造り - a traditional style of Japanese architecture) is also very famous.

In this garden, there are sotetsu (Sago palm) trees planted. These trees were the offerings from a Daimyo (大名 - regional feudal lord) for the Tokugawa Shogunate in the early Edo period. I guess these trees must have been very rare and eye catching at that time.

Sotetsu is actually a tropical plant so that it is not resistant to cold. Until the end of March, they are wrapped in a straw mat, and wait for the spring, enduring the long severe winter of Kyoto. Don't they look pretty?

Akane Kibune


1 min. on foot from Nijo-jo Mae, Kyoto city bus



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