While Tokyo city has its own manhole cover – and a rather dull sakura themed one at that – keeping an eye on the ground can often turn up a different pattern beneath your feet. Case in point, the manhole cover below that I found one day in Hamarikyu Garden:
It’s not terribly exciting, I’ll give you that, but it does highlight some of the garden’s features. On the bottom of the manhole cover is what I assume to be the garden’s pond, Shioiri. Unlike some gardens, Hamarikyu’s position at the edge of the bay of Tokyo means that the water in the pond here is tidal – you’ll see the depth change at least twice a day. Sitting on the edge of that pond on the cover – as in real life – is the Nakajima Tea House. Open at the same time as the garden itself, you can come here for a cup of grassy green tea and a traditional sweet (though don’t expect any ceremony with it) while gazing out towards the distant buildings of Odaiba.
Hamarikyu is easy to visit – just steps away from Tsukiji fish market and a short walk from the Ginza district. There’s no bad time to come here, but my favorite months are March for the fields of rape blossoms and June for the clusters of irises.