One of the most fascinating parks to be found in Tokyo is the Tetsugakudo Park in Nakano City. Established in 1906 by philosopher and founder of Toyo University Inoue Enryo, the park is a public memento to the ideas and influences of philosophical thought.
The park is filled with reminders of philosophy, spaces for contemplation and meaning-laden architecture. The buildings here, of which there are eleven, were all apparently designed by Inoue himself and are in honour of both Western and Eastern philosophers and their influences on human thought.
Entering the park through the Tetsurimon Gate, you find that instead of a traditional pair of nioh Buddhist guardians, the gate houses a tengu mountain goblin and a ghost... Further on is the Shiseido, a structure dedicated to Buddha, Confucius, Socrates and Kant. Another structure, a red tower called the Rokkendai, is in honour of six Eastern sages - Japan's Shotoku Taishi and Sugawa no Michizane, China's Zhuangzi and Zhu Xi and India's Nagarjuna and Kapila.
Continuing on with the theme of wise people, the Sankakutei enshrines Atsutane, Razan and Gyonen, three scholars of Shinto, Confucianism and Buddhism, respectively while the Sansoen pays its respects to Huang-ti of China, Thales of ancient Greece and India's Aksapada Gautama.
The park also features a Philosophers Garden filled with many statues of great thinkers, ponds and bridges as well as the beautiful foliage of spring and autumn. While most of the buildings are closed to the public, during certain times of the year like the cherry blossom season and in October, the interiors of these buildings become accessible to visitors.
A park unlike any other, Tetsugakudo Park is a beautiful reminder of the power of human thought and its role in our lives.