Hakone Gardens and Old Japan



A very few miles from the light-speed wonders of Silicon Valley is the timeless beauty of Hakone Gardens. Every time I’ve gone to film there, usually cranked up on caffeine and racing against a tight schedule, my heart-rate slows and so do I. Then, pretty quickly, I feel as if my edges are

no longer sharper than my senses. The garden’s sheer physical beauty and the serenity of its purpose always work their magic on me. If I can’t easily get to old Japan in an afternoon, I can, fortunately, get to Hakone. When I leave to drive back to our frenetic future, I typically transition as slowly as I can by stopping in the beautiful downtown of Saratoga next door for a bite to eat and a short walk by its shops. Saratoga is a good half-way house between the calm waters of Hakone and the class-five rapids of Silicon Valley.


According to Lon Saavedra, Hakone continues to gain the recognition it richly deserves. The final third of the movie, “Memoirs of a Geisha”, was filmed there and Hakone was one of only 12 places in the United States to be listed recently as a preservation site by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Although Hakone’s website is www.hakone.com, don’t be confused. Hakone is a non-profit organization and needs our continuing support.


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Step out of the 21st century rush and be restored by a traditional Japanese sanctuary near Silicon Valley, a garden of peace that barely survived a time of war.
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