Sunday, May 7, 2017

Tsukayama Kōen ( 塚山公園 ) and William Adams' Tomb

My (almost) home town, Yokosuka is famous for a number of things involving places and events both ancient and modern. It is also has a number of famous and wonderful parks. Tsukayama Park ( 塚山公園 ) is famous for its cherry blossoms. Cherry blossom viewing ( 花見 ) in Japan is a seasonal national pastime and feels a lot like the 4th of July in the Unites States. People go to the parks where they can view the cherry blossoms, layout blankets and have picnics with their families.

Tsukayama Park is one of the "Top 50 Scenic Beauty" sites in Kanagawa prefecture. It is at the top of a mountain in Yokosuka that was once in the fief of Miura Anjin ( 三浦按針 ) aka William Adams.

I normally edit images to a width of 640 pixels to best fit on the screen and save bandwidth, but I left the map image full size, so if you click on it you can actually read it and find the park.

A view of the U.S. Navy Base from the park.

And now some views of the park. I got there in early summer long after the cherry blossoms were gone, but the park is still peaceful and beautiful. It was a very hot day with plenty of haze in the air, as you can see in these pictures. Even so, it was comfortable in the park at the top of the mountain. (Ok, in the U.S. we would call it a hill.)

Some of you may have read the novel Shogun by James Clavell. In this novel a major character is Englishman John Blackthorne. Shogun is based on real historical events as are most of Clavell's novels. In this novel the character Blackthorne is based on the real life adventures of William Adams.

NOTE: The Wikipedia article gives Adams' grave as being in Hirado, but this memorial was only erected in 1954. He was granted a fief in Hemi that is now part of Yokosuka. History records that he wanted to be buried in his fief on a hill facing Edo and said so on his deathbed. Although he did die in Hirado, this is, in fact, where he is buried. Being samurai and a hatamoto to Tokugawa Ieyasu it would be expected that his wishes would be respected.

Here are some pictures of his gravesite. His Japanese wife, Oyuki, is buried there with him.

So, if you have any time in Yokosuka, especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, visit Tsukayama Park and enjoy the thousand cherry trees and hanami. It is a lovely park.

William Adams from SamuraiWiki
Wiliam Adams and Yokosuka published by Yokosuka City.


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