Photo:かがみ~ on Flickr

Oohorikoen: Reflexology and Komorebi

A few days ago I learned that there is a word in Japanese to describe the sunlight filtering through trees. The word is Komorebi. I heard it while sitting in front of a reflexology station in the Oohori Park (大濠公園). This park is located in Chuo-Ku, Fukuoka and can be reached by subway. The station has the same name as the park: Oohori.



Photo: Skott Яeader on Flickr

Oohori means moat and it has this name because it was originally built to protect the palace of the old lord of Fukuoka: Kuroda Nagamasa. It was later opened as a park in 1929. Since then, it has become a popular destination. It can get crowded on the weekends as the park offers a playground for kids, a museum, the ruins of the castle, a pond, a path along the water for jogging, a Japanese garden and cafes. As such it is visited by many tourists and local people.

I went to the park to experience a special exhibition at the museum within the park. But I spent more time walking around the park than inside the museum. While walking, I noticed that there were several stretching stations beside the path. I stopped at one of them since I had never encountered one before. It was a reflexology station. And a very popular one too! While waiting for my turn in the queue of many people, adults and children alike; I saw everyone taking off their shoes and walking the seven tiles that form the first part of the station. Some of them yelling 'itai' meaning painful while stepping over each tile. While there were others who didn’t feel any pain and smiled. Each one of them checked the instructions on the board to see what  part of the body was connected with what part of the foot.



There was a bench in front of the reflexology station that people used to put their shoes back on. It was there when I understood the meaning of Komorebi. From the place I was sitting, I could see the trees in front of me, followed by the pond, the island and some buildings far away. In the horizon the sun was descending. The vivid color was becoming orange as the sunset was getting closer. But it was not possible to see the full color of the sun, most of the sunlight was left behind the trees and the rest created a harmonious composition of yellows and greens. The sun kept descending and the colors became darker, more orange than the yellowish white of early hours.


I know I will go back to this park. There are still many things I want to see. I am specially interested in the Japanese gardens and the permanent collection of the museum. Of course I will be seeing the sunlight from the same spot. It has now turned into my favourite spot.

A full day can be spent easily in the Oohori park. But if time is a concern, I recommend going in the afternoon. Walk around the path, stop on the reflexology station and sit to see the sunlight filtering through the trees. The sunlight weaves designs between the leaves of the trees while the wind plays mischief.

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