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Campus Now

Spring Verdure Issue (Apr. 2015)

Landscape of Waseda
Cover: Miwa Aoki (watercolor painter, 1986 graduate of the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences II (Evening Division))

Vacation of Okuma Garden

Okuma Memorial Tower stands to the back-left of Okuma Auditorium. Look down from the tower and you will see the sprawling Okuma Garden, an unusual oasis of greenery amidst the increasing number of high-rise buildings on campus.
Originally the famous garden of a suburban residence owned by the Ii family (Hikone Domain) and the Matsudaira family (Takamatsu Domain), Shigenobu Okuma moved into the residence and then utilized the natural greenery to transform the grounds into a Japanese garden.
Features such as a grass lawn, an artificial mountain, and lake were added to the garden. The first melons to be cultivated in Japan were grown in a glassed-in greenhouse. According to Okuma’s wishes, the garden was donated to Waseda University. Although the garden was completely destroyed during air raids in 1945, it was restored to a nearly original condition through the hard work of many alumni. This restored version still exists today.
The garden is filled with lush trees and flowers which show a variety of expressions during the four seasons. From spring to early winter, the garden is a popular spot bustling with students who are eating lunch, taking naps and enjoying a picnic.
Okuma Garden is closed for about three months in winter.
On the occasional snowy day, the garden displays a tranquil and dignified beauty, waiting for the spring blooms which will once again attract the exuberant youth of students.