'Public Gardens at Odji', Japan, 1858.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lithograph by Hanhart, from 'Japan, the Amoor, and the Pacific' by Henry Arthur Tilley, (London, 1861). Gardens have long been an important part of Japanese society, however most were closed to the public at this period. Large formal gardens were built by the ruling elite and by monasteries as places for peaceful contemplation and worship. Those at Odji were a rare example of public gardens. The emperor's sporting quarters were also nearby. Tilley's account described his voyage of circumnavigation aboard a Russian corvette in 1858. He spent three months in Japan and recorded the tensions between European and American traders and their relations with the Japanese.