Another destination that’s been on my bucket list for quite a while is the Kyu-Furukawa Gardens located in western Tokyo, and last month on one of my days off I finally had the chance to visit! These gardens are very famous for their Western meets Japanese design, and the guest house from Umineko no naku koro ni was actually inspired by the manor that acts a as a centerpiece here. You can walk through the interior of the manor and order tea for an extra cost which was extremely worth it. I really felt like I was Beatrice sitting outside on the balcony and gazing upon everyone that walked by!
If this is in Tokyo then you’re probably wondering why it took so long for me to go, but the gardens have been completely closed for over half a year due to the pandemic. From June 4st, 2021, Kyu-Furukawa Gardens have officially re-opened and now everyone can visit! They are limiting the number of visitors but you can reserve a ticket on e-tix for free. I reserved mine three days before and was able to enter without any problem.
Here is a real life to anime comparison of the Western-styled manor I took with my tripod (click to enlarge the images):
To my knowledge the rooms of the manor are occasionally rented out for meetings because I accidentally walked in on one while I was exploring the interior! But without a doubt the main draw is the rose garden outside of the manor and the traditional Japanese garden in the back. Both of these gardens have a lot of rare flowers and I even saw hydrangeas while they were in season. I can see why ryukishi07 chose this location as inspiration for his visual novel series because it is very beautiful and feels like it has an air of mystery to it.
Kyu-Furukawa Gardens are easily accessible by taking the Yamanote Line to Komagome Station and walking 10 minutes. You can walk around the gardens in 1-2 hours depending on if you explore the inside of the manor or not.
Address: 1 Chome-27-39 Nishigahara, Kita City, Tokyo 114-0024
Garden Entrance Fee: 150 yen Manor Entrance Fee: 400 yen Tea Set Fee: 500 yen~
Traversing through the streets of Harajuku–one of Tokyo’s most iconic fashion districts famous for pastel, lolita, goth, and designer street wear clothing–one would not be surprised to see bright-colored styles in all sorts of unique forms. However, one piece of clothing in particular caught my eye. It was a bright pink sweater with a green dinosaur on it and felt strangely nostalgic:
Upon looking at it closer, the dinosaur had a very unique expression on its face. Its lips were parted in an extremely derpy way, and it looked liked it was trying to say something. Not “roar” like you would expect a dinosaur to say, but perhaps something less intimidating… like “rawr”. When I noticed this, I immediately thought back to the Rawr xD memes that plagued the internet in the early 2000s. And it got me thinking… Is Scene Kid Fashion Forever Iconic in Tokyo? Or does it just coincide with Harajuku fashion?
Similarly to how Harajuku fashion is influenced by music (especially Visual Kei), scene fashion was originally influenced by rock and other subgenres. Both styles feature brightly colorful attire that is sometimes paired with excessive hair clips, intricate makeup, big bows, and sometimes piercings as well. Just like scene lingo exists, Harajuku gyaru lingo exists too. When you compare pictures of the two fashions side by side, they are slightly different but fundamentally the same:
Although Harajuku fashion started in the 1980’s, the gyaru and lolita subcultures started from 99′ – 00′, which was right around the time when scene kid fashion was starting to form as well. Though it wasn’t until the late 2000s when the term “scene kid” was coined, a lot of people were wearing the style before then. Regardless of when exactly they were formed, both fashions express a statement against conforming with societal normsandare designed to express individuality.
Though both styles have received both praise and cringe-worthy reactions from the public, I find that their connections are quite interesting. Japanese fashion continuously uses inspiration from the west, and western countries often import and find Japanese fashion quite alluring. I don’t think I’ll ever be a scene kid or a Harajuku girl, but I can appreciate both fashions for the uniqueness (and weirdness). At the end of the day, I am extremely grateful to whatever influenced my derpy dinosaur sweater!