In the middle of Rome?! Yet there it is… and the moment you cross the threshold of Via Antonio Gramsci 74, you enter another country. Life is quiet, orderly, punctual. The Istituto Giapponese di Cultura is a peaceful place: it organizes haiku contests, Japanese language courses, ceramics demonstrations, film festivals, art shows… all for free (on a first come, first served basis, and spaces are limited).
In the spring, the Institute also allows visitors in for a tour of their lovely gardens. Renowned architect Nakajima Ken designed this garden in “sen’en style” (garden with lake) back in the sixties, and each year, for a limited time only, admirers are welcome. You must call 06 3224754 and reserve a spot on a tour, organized every thirty minutes, for a couple hours on Fridays and Saturdays, from March through May. And you must show up on time or you will lose your spot, and they will NOT let you in to see the gardens without the guide!
The most spectacular part of a Japanese garden, of course, are the cherry blossoms, and I missed them by a few weeks. The garden was lovely nevertheless, and the Italian guide very knowledgeable. Next year, I will reserve for early April, and catch the cherry trees in bloom.
Gyneth has lived in Rome longer than anywhere else in the world, and still doesn’t want to leave. By day she edits the English version of
ASPENIA, Aspen Institute Italia’s highly regarded journal on international affairs, and by night she plays the blues! Check out her two bands The Bucket Band and BRASS OFF!!