Kyu-Furukawa Gardens: A photo guide

Kyu Furukawa Gardens mansion and garden
Josiah Conder's mansion and a part of his garden.

A little piece of England exists in Tokyo? Yes, it does, and you can find it at Kyu-Furukawa Gardens near Komagome station on the Yamanote line. This historical place is famous for its garden, mansion, and lawn. You can’t get much more English than that, can you? Josiah Conder, a British architect, was responsible for its design. You’ll be responsible for taking photos that make it look good.

It would have been a pretty place when its roses bloomed during its Meiji era heyday. I bet Tokyo’s rich and famous enjoyed it. That type of garden would have been new to the city, and many people would have been interested in it.

Asagumo rose
An Asagumo rose.

But now, it is open to the public in the twenty-first century. When the roses bloom, the grounds overflow with people. Everyone comes with a camera or a smartphone to photograph the sea of color. The garden is alive with brilliant reds and oranges through yellows, pinks, and whites.

It’ll be picture-perfect if you visit when the weather is right. There are so many roses of different colors from all over the world. They’re all gorgeous. The staff at Furukawa tend to them with great care. You can see pictures of the 2023 season here. This garden is one of the best of its type in Tokyo. Without a doubt, it is in the city’s top five.

Kyu Furukawa mansion
The mansion seen from the lawn area.

Kyu-Furukawa Gardens isn’t only about roses, though. There is also a Japanese garden (not designed by Conder) at the rear of the property. It is a mini-version of other Edo-period ones in Tokyo. A pond (named “Shinji”) ringed by a path to enjoy a walk is in the middle. There are also enormous lanterns, some small hills, and a waterfall. Sit on a bench and spend some time enjoying the “vibes.” This is a great place in autumn too.

A brief history of Kyu-Furukawa Gardens

  • It once belonged to Mutsu Munemitsu, a Meiji-era statesman and diplomat.
  • When the Furukawa family adopted his second son, it became their property.
  • Josiah Condor (1852 – 1920), the English architect, designed the mansion. 
  • Jihei Ogawa (1860 – 1933), a designer from Kyoto, created the Japanese garden.
  • Kyu-Furukawa is a typical example of the gardens of the Taisho Period. Some people compare it to Kyu-Iwasaki Gardens in Ueno.
roses in front of Kyu Furukawa mansion

Why do photographers like the gardens?

  • Mansion (designed by Josiah Conder)
  • Japanese-style pond area (amazing in autumn)
  • Roses in May and October
  • Teahouse

Photography tips

  • Tripods are allowed, but not when the roses bloom.
  • During the rose season, avoid the weekends. It will be so crowded that taking photos will be difficult.

Photo spots near Kyu-Furukawa Gardens

Large Japanese stone lantern near Kyu Furukawa Gardens pond

Kyu-Furukawa Gardens details

See the park’s admission fees, opening hours, and location on the official website.

Wrapping up

I love Kyu-Furukawa as it is very picturesque. But make sure you go in May or October when the roses will be there! Autumn is also a good time with its fabulous leaves. It really is a little piece of England in Tokyo!

And if possible, get inside the mansion with one of the guided tours. Those are available three times a day. With its beautiful garden, things are looking very rosy. If you are a flower lover, put it on your bucket list.

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