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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 (江戸) 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 (蘇鉄, Sago palm) trees planted. These trees are originally the offerings from a Daimyo (大名, regional feudal lord) for the Tokugawa Shogunate (徳川幕府) in the early Edo period. I guess these trees must have been very precious at that time with their exotic appearance.

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