Happō-en, located in the Shirokane area of Minato-ku, Tokyo, is a beautiful place known more for hosting an endless stream of weddings and formal banquets. Happō-en has a history dating to the early 1600s, when it was the villa for Okubo Hikozaemon, a trusted confidant and retainer of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who unified Japan, as well as his two successors. Afterwards, the villa served as a residence for the Shimazu clan from the domain of Satsuma in Kyushu and then served as a villa for Saigō Takamori for a period of time. Happō-en means “eight gardens” in Japanese and its main garden is truly a delight, especially in early April, when the cherry trees are in bloom.
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