An absolutely stunning strolling garden, Otaguro Park is a Tokyo gem almost unknown to the rest of the city. Once the home of former music critic Motoo Otaguro, the estate was given over to Suginami City after his passing in the late seventies and turned into the garden it is today.
It's almost unfortunate to have separate the highlights here; there are so many of them and they all begin at the entrance gate. Walking in, the pathway from the gate is lined with a series of gingko trees whose gorgeous golden shadings in autumn really are a sight to behold.
Further on, the garden opens up to feature some beautifully established and maintained traditional Japanese garden elements - viewing platforms which choice views, a pond filled with koi carp, a stone bridge, an obligatory waterfall and seasonal colours of the garden's flora. The stone paved walkway winds its way through the garden with Motoo Otaguro's home - a Western-styled architectural structure rare for its time - now a museum feature.
A traditional tea room can also be found on the grounds, adding to the depth of Japanese culture and tradition to be felt here. Unlike the rest of the park which is free to use, reservations are required to use the tea room where the tea ceremony, ikebana flower arranging and shodo calligraphy can be periodically experienced.
One of the most pleasing aspects of Otaguro Park is the decided lack of crowds. Away from the more well known strolling gardens of Tokyo, Otaguro Park in Suginami City has managed to preserve, not only a sense of beauty and calm, but perhaps just as importantly, its dignity.