Takara Pond was built in the middle of the Edo period as a reservoir for irrigation in the Sakyo area of Kyoto. Over the years, its surroundings were developed to create Takaragaike Park.
Spread over several hectares, the park encompasses a running trail, a children’s park, bird watching areas and more. It is home to kingfishers, deer, turtles, carp, catfish, dragonflies and all sorts of creatures. If you are lucky, they may come and greet you.
The park is surrounded by mountains and it’s possible to get a good view of the Mountain Hiei. On one side of the park, the Kyoto International Conference Centre, a large, concrete complex towers over the area. The building is a fusion of architecture styles – the traditional Japanese Gassho style and modern Brutalist. It doesn’t quite fit in with the natural beauty of the park, but it is possible to ignore it if you so wish. The Kyoto protocol was signed here.
The pond’s reflections of its surroundings can be a good gauge of what time of year it is. Red splashes on the trees in autumn, snow clad mountains in the winter, flowers in bloom in spring and fireflies in the summer.
The park’s trails make it ideal for a run, but it can also be great for a picnic on a sunny day or a meandering exploration of the hilly areas around, as school kids scuttle past.
True to its name, Takaragaike Park is a hidden treasure in a residential area – one of those Kyoto secrets that you only uncover if someone tells you about it.