Tetsugakudo Park

The philosopher's park in Nakano

By Sleiman Azizi    - 2 min read

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.

The character for 'mono' or things in flora calligraphy (Photo: koji_h)
The character for 'mono' or things in flora calligraphy (Photo: koji_h)

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.

Tetsurimon Gate housing a tengu goblin and ghost... (Photo: Suisui)
Tetsurimon Gate housing a tengu goblin and ghost... (Photo: Suisui)

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 Shiseido building, house of the four saints (Photo: Carbonium)
The Shiseido building, house of the four saints (Photo: Carbonium)

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.

Getting there

Take the Seibu Shinjuku Line to Araiyakushi-mae Station for a 10-minute walk from the North Exit. Otherwise, try the Toei Oedo Line to Ochia-Minami-Nagasaki Station for a 12-minute walk.

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Sleiman Azizi

Sleiman Azizi @sleiman.azizi

A Japanese Permanent Resident, I drool over proper soba and sushi while Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me.With over 200 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style, I also happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via sleiman.azizi@japantravel.com