Turning Japanese

Residents enjoy the revamped Hammersmith Park

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Hammersmith Park closed for a whole week

Creation of new play areas in Hammersmith Park causes controversy

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After weeks of restoration work, the newly refurbished Japanese Garden and play areas in Hammersmith Park were opened on Sunday (May 23) for residents to enjoy.

An afternoon garden party took place to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Japan-British Exhibition, which was held at White City between May and October 1910.

The Japan-themed event included Japanese martial arts demonstrations and dance performances, Taiko drumming, Enka singing and traditional kamishibai storytelling.

 

The Japanese Garden was constructed as one of the attractions of the 1910 Exhibition and is the only remaining sign of the White City 140-acre exhibition site.

The 'Garden of Peace', as it was called, was authentic in every respect, boasting features such as wooden bridges, a pavilion and stone lanterns. A garden designer and workmen from Japan were specially commissioned to build it. But over recent years, it had fallen into disrepair.

"In the 1950s, when the original 'Garden of Peace' was party demolished, the reconfiguration was not true to a traditional Japanese style. The main objective of this project has been to bring it back to the traditional aesthetic that makes it so special," say the Japan Society.

As well as restoring the Japanese Garden, new play areas have been created in the park.

"Drawing inspiration from the dry gardens often found in Zen temples, we have created the 'Rock Garden' play area. All dry gardens have a story behind them and each group of rocks plays a part in the story. Ours is a story of the Crane and the Turtle in their voyage to the Island of Shangri-La, a place of eternal happiness," the Japan Society explain.

"The Crane lives for 1000 years and the Turtle walks the world for 10,000 years. They both symbolise long life. This garden is a metaphor of a child's journey through life."

23 May 2010