After visiting Nezu Museum I went back to Omote-sando Station, shared by Ginza, Hanzomon and Chiyoda Tokyo metro lines. To get to Hibiya Park, I took Chiyoda Line and exited from Hibiya Station. I went out from A10 exit and walked toward the minor entrance of the park close to Jose Rizal bust statue. Jose Rizal is undoubtedly the national hero of Philippines. On that day I waited a little to take photos of the bust because there were some visitors (possibly filipinos) taking memorial photos there. After that I took a quick view of this large park 16.1 hectares in area covering major photo-op places such as Mikasayama (Mount Mikasa), Liberation Bell, Gingko Tree Spared by Job-costing Decision (Kubikiri-icho), Haniwa Clay Statues (clay statues of men, horses, houses and armors placed in and around the kofun burial mounds during 4th to 6th Century A/D.) and Kumogata-ike Pond. Hibiya Park is for the most part, the park for adults, although there are some playgrounds for children. During weekends the park often holds events such as Oktoberfest during summer, Philippines festival in September. When I visited the park Philippines festival was held and the park had a lot of visitors mostly filipinos.
Omote-sando station is one of the metro station for shoppers in Omote-dori street lined with fashonable stores and cafes. The station is also used to get to Nezu Museum because there is no stations between Nogizaka and Omote-sando. (Maybe Minami-aoyama station will be added someday). The street between Nezu Museum and Omote-sando station is also lined with fashion brand stores such as Prada and Yoku Moku. To get to Hibiya Park I took Chiyoda Line and took the train that departs from platform #2.
Chiyoda Line Hibiya Station
To get to Hibiya Park you can choose either Kasumigaseki or Hibiya. Hibiya Station of Chiyoda Line is close to Kasumi gate near the Hibiya Open-air Concert Hall. Hibiya Station is close to Shinji-ike Pond, Stone Wall and the First Flower Garden. On that day I chose Hibiya Station because I wanted to visit Hose Rizal bust statue first.
As photo #1 map shows Exit A10 is near the northwestern corner of the park close to Shinji-ike Pond and the former gate stone wall. I walked southward along the park passing the back side of Rizal statue.
Minor Entrance to the Park
After walking about 100 meters from the A10 exit, there is a minor entrance to the park.
Edge of Shinji-ike Pond
Then I walked toward the stone wall and the Rizal bust statue. On the way you will find the edge of Shinji-ike Pond. As the photo shows you can find some nice pine trees alongside the pond.
Jose Rizal Bust Statue
Jose Rizal bust in Hibiya Park is often picked by Filipinos to congregate. When high officials of Philippines come to Japan, they may pay a visit to the bust statue here. The bust statue was added in 1998 (monument underneath was erected in 1961) in memory of Rizal's visit to Japan in February to March 1888. The place was close to the site of Tokyo Hotel where Rizal stayed then.Rizal (1861-96) was both the ophthalmologist, poet and writer who inspired the Philippines revolution later materialized. Dr. Rizal is now a national hero of the Philippines.
Building of interest
Tokyo Midtown Hibiya
Tokyo Midtown Hibiya (35-floors, 192m) opened on March 29, 2018 is one of the newcomers of Hibiya Park neighborhoods. It is a commercial complex with movie theaters and shopping malls. From the sixth floor garden, you can view the Hibiya Park.
To the top of Stone Wall
The stone wall towering near the Rizal statue is the remnant of Hibiya Gate wall one of the thirty-six exterior checkpoints for former Edo castle.
Viewing Shinji-ike Pond
Shinji-ike Pond is one of the Japanese landscape garden features, the heart-shaped pond. The pond was formerly the water moat inside the Hibiya Gate. From the top of the wall you can see how the pond is shaped.
Edge of the Stone Wall
From the edge of the stone wall close to the northeast entrance of the park, you can glimpse a part of Imperial Outer Garden (Kokyo Gaien National Garden).
The site of the Hibiya Gate
Hibiya Gate used to be one of the thirty six guard posts of Edo Castle.
Viewing Shinji-ike Pond
Viewed from this side you can easily see the pond was formerly a moat.
Building of interest
Former Park Office
Former Park Administrative Office was built in 1910 designed by Shigeyoshi Fukuda. In 1976 this building was reopened as a gallery with exhibition on history of this park. Currently it is used for Felice Garden Hibiya, a bridal shop chain. This place is often used as the film or drama location site. It was designated as Tokyo Metropolitan Area-desgnated Tangible Cultural Property in 1989.
First Flower Garden
First Flower Garden shows the original park concept, park introducing the western-style flower garden. In contrast with Japanese style gardens around Shinji-ike or Kumogata-ike ponds, this area is designed with straight lines. This western-style garden has the huge Washington palm, the pelican fountain and lawn ground. Such western-style gardens are common in current urban parks in Japan but when the park was opened more than 100 years ago it was new to Japanese.
This giraffe calf sculpture was originally one of the exhibit art works for spring art fair in 1958.
This rusted steel alloy drinking fountain at the flank of Mikasayama hill is one of the old fountains placed when the park was opened. Most of such old drinking fountains, however, are no longer used including this one.
Mikasayama Hill (Mount Mikasa)
In Japan, Yama may not be what we call a mountain. The lowest Yama in Japan is merely 4.5 meters above sea level. Mikasayama is not even natural. It may not be higher in elevation 10 meters than that of the neighboring tennis courts. It was formed from the soils resulted from digging to make huge ponds. When the park was created, the artificial hill area was a lot wider than it is now having three peaks. That is why the hill is called Mikasa-yama (lieterally three conically shaped hats). Although Mikasayama is the highest point in Hibiya Park the view from the top of the hill is not that great. You can just have the clear view of Tokyo Midtown Hibiya and tennis players down hill.
Replica of the Liberty Bell
Original Liberty Bell was placed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1753, two decades before the Declaration of Independence. Since then the bell has been the symbol of freedom and liberation from injustice. The replica of the Liberty Bell was donated to the park from the United States in 1952 as a token of friendship right after the San Francisco Agreement officially ending the GHQ occupation in Japan
Small Music Hall
In Hibiya Park, there are two outdoor music halls and this one often used for the weekend events is the smaller one.
Large Fountain/Event Square
On weekdays this area has a large fountain running but during the weekends this area is often the venue for the huge events.
Matsumoto-ro is the restaurant chain and the headquarter shop is located in Hibiya Park. It was opened in 1903 the same year the park was opened. Although the original building was burned down by the fire in 1971, it was re-opened in 1973. The restaurant is best known for its curry menus. The restaurant is also a popular place for dinner and wedding parties.
Haniwa Clay Figurines
Clay Figurines near the Matsumoto-ro Restaurant is the replicas of Haniwa given from Miyazaki Prefecture with well-known Kofun Burial Mounds Group such as Saitobru Burial Mounds. Kofun is the ancient burial mounds built during 4th to 6th centuries as the cemeteries for emperors, local kings, or regional leaders and their kin. Haniwa clay statues are usually placed in and around of such burial mounds and their function might have been similar to terra cotta: protecting the mounds even after the king is long dead. Haniwa is varied in shapes and styles, many of such clay objects are cylindrical or the human soldiers while others are like art objects such as houses, animals, birds or horses. By studying the haniwa statues you can have the ideas how ancient Japanese about 1,500 years ago might have lived.
Risky Ginkgo (Ginkgo Spared by Job-risking Relocation)
Ginkgo bibloba is one of the living fossils dating back to approximately 270 million years ago. It was found in China, about 1,000 years ago and brought to Japan afterward. Large and old ginkgo trees are often found in Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in Japan. The large old ginkgo tree which originally belonged to Edo castle (presumed to be as old as 3-5 hundred years old) with 6.5 meters in circumference, 21 meters in height is standing right beside the Matsumoto-ro Restaurant. When Hibiya Park was being created, Seiroku Honda, the creator of the park, pleaded to spare the old ginkgo tree planned to be cut to expand the road nearby by relocating it to the park. The relocation plan met with huge opposition because people thought the plan was impossible. Seiroku countered such criticism by declaring that should the relocation plan fail he would take responsibility by resigning his current position. As you see it the plan was a huge success and this ginkgo tree was named kubikake (risking his head) icho based on this episode.
Kumogata-ike Pond is one of the three ponds in the park and the area is also the place where original park design is nearly kept intact. The main feature of the pond is its crane foutain the third oldest fountain in Japan. The pond area has a wisteria terrace which is a nice place for a rest. When the pond was cleaned up in 2017, an old roof tile used for Saga Clan Samurai residence was found.
Kumogata-ike Pond 2
Kumogata-ike Pond Viewed from the south side.
Kasumi Gate of Hibiya Park is close to Kasumigaseki Station of Hibiya and Chiyoda lines. When you get out of this exit, you may find some joggers running around this huge park.