Koishikawa Kourakuen Garden is in Koishikawa, Bunkyou-ku, Tokyo, adjacent to Tokyo Dome City.
The construction was started in 1629 by Tokugawa Yorifusa, the daimyo (feudal lord) of Mito han, and was completed by his successor, Tokugawa Mitsukuni.
Mitsukuni named this garden "Kouraku-en" (Kouraku means "enjoying afterwards") after a Chinese teaching of "a governor should worry before people and enjoy after people". The garden shows strong Chinese influence in its design.
Kourakuen was appointed as a special place of scenic beauty and a special historic site based on the cultural properties protection law of Japan.
All through Japan, there are only seven premises which enjoy double appointments by this Law. They are Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji and Sampo-in of Daigoji in Kyoto, the trace of Nibo-no-miya in the former capital of Heijou-kyou in Nara, Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima and Hamarikyuu and Kourakuen in Tokyo.
Tokugawa Mitsukuni, also known as "Mito Koumon" (July 11, 1628 - January 14, 1701) was a prominent daimyo who was known for his influence in the politics of the early Edo period. He was the third son of Tokugawa Yorifusa (who in turn was the eleventh son of Tokugawa Ieyasu) and succeeded him, becoming the second daimyo of the Mito domain.
At age 27, he married a daughter of the kampaku Konoe Nobuhiro. He was responsible for assembling the Mitogaku scholars to compile a huge Japanese history, Dai Nihon shi. In it, Japan was depicted as a nation under the Emperor, analogous to that in Chinese dynasties. This helped the rise of nationalism in the late shogunate and in the Mito domain later.
In 1661, at age 34, he became the daimyo of the Mito han.
At age 63, he was awarded the court office of gon-chuunagon, or provisional middle counsellor. He posthumously received the court rank of junior first rank (1869) and first rank (1900).
In 1691, he retired to his villa, Seizanso. He died there a decade later.
He was also known as a gourmet of the Edo period. He is claimed to be one of the first Japanese to eat ramen as well as routinely enjoying such exotic food as wine and yogurt.