“Each spring, a festival of cherry blossoms was convened at the O-Hama Detached Palace. The O-Hama Palace had pleasure gardens dating from the period of the Tokugawa shoguns, in which they enjoyed picnics and other outdoor amusements amid the carefully cultivated setting. Baroness Shidzune Ishimoto remembered going to the O-Hama for the cherry blossom festival as a young student from the Western-style Peeress’ School.
“The vast park was enclosed by stands of pine trees, which parted on the south side to a cliff that looked over Tokyo Bay. The garden featured a lake in its center; the grass was trimmed so perfectly it might have been green velvet, and the glory of the garden, the cherry trees, stood all about, ‘heavily laden with pale pink blossoms [calling] attention to their dark gray trunks, lustrous skins between the pinkish mists, reflected on the water.'”
– Imperial Masquerade: The Legend of Princess Der Ling, by Grant Hayter-Menzies, 2008
From the wiki: “In 1654, the younger brother, Matsudaira Tsunashige, of the 4th Tokugawa Shogun reclaimed some of the ocean filled area south of Hibiya and built a residence on that land that came to be called Kofu Hama-yashiki [‘beach pavilion’]. Later, Tsunashige’s son became Shogun and this residence became the property of the Tokugawa family.
“The name of the residence and grounds was changed to Hama Goden [Beach Palace]. From that time, Shoguns made various changes to the garden. The garden was finally finished at the time of the 11th shogun, Ienari, and has remained basically the same to modern times. After the Meiji Restoration, the garden was a Detached Palace for the Imperial family and the name was changed to Hama Detached Palace.
“Gradually the centre of garden activities shifted from Kyoto to Edo, and later a new possibility was shown in the garden art of Matsudaira Sadanobu and Tokugawa Nariaki, two feudal lords, who tolerated the utilisation of natural scenes in a garden and who created public parks in their dominions.
“… Many beautiful gardens were created in the castle compound where the Shogun lived, and some of these are still preserved. The garden of Hama detached palace in Tokyo was so laid out that the salt water [of Tokyo Bay] was led into its big lake and the view of Fuji San beyond the Bay of Shinagawa could be enjoyed.”
– Gardens Of Japan, by Jiro Harada, 2013
“In 1654 the younger brother of the shogun Ietsuna had parts of the watery shallows of the bay filled in and built a villa on the reclaimed land. Completed by the eleventh shogun, Ienari, the basic design and scale of the garden remained intact. After the Meiji Restoration the garden was turned into a residence for the imperial family and renamed the Hama Detached Palace.
“The highlight of the garden is a large tidal pond, with a small tea pavilion at its centre, and islets connected by wooden bridges. The only remaining tidal pool in Tokyo, sluice gates control the ebb and flow of the seawater, which brings in ocean fish such as gobies, black mullet and sea bass. Narrow watercourses were used for duck hunting sites. Enticed into the passages by grain, the fowl were caught in nets. Kamozuka, a mound built to console the spirits of the ducks that were killed, can still be seen.
“A large black pine was planted in 1704 when the garden was remodelled to celebrate the succession of the sixth sogun, Ienobu. In spite of earthquakes, fires and air raids, the pine has miraculously survived.
“The eighth shogun, Yoshimune, turned parts of the garden into an experimental farm for the cultivation of new crops and herbs. He is said to have kept an elephant from Vietnam in the grounds. A large garden, with over 600 variets of peony, it contains areas of crepe flowers, csmos, irises, cherry, spider lilies, wisteria, bamboo and plum.”
– Tokyo: A Cultural History, by Stephen Mansfield, 2009
“Following World War II, in 1946, the Hama Detached Palace became a public garden.”