Kasumigaseki Country Club and the Tokyo Golf Club are separated at one point simply by a narrow dirt track, very much like the road that runs between Huntingdale and Metropolitan golf clubs here in Melbourne.
Tokyo Golf Club is possibly one of the most exclusive golf clubs in Japan and I was fortunate that they were kind enough to look after me while I was photographing both their course and across the road at Kasumigaseki. The accommodation was not luxurious by any stretch as I was bunked in with the ground staff, but it served the purpose. Apparently the only other possible accommodation in the area was a local “love” hotel, which, judging by the descriptions and raised eye-brows, was the sort of place I was best to avoid!
Once I had finished shooting Tokyo I shifted my attention to Kasumigaseki, and rather than walk out on the fairways next to my accommodation, I strolled across the road and entered Kasumigaseki through a small hole in the fence. It could have been described as a gate I suppose, but from memory I think that might have been designating a description it didn’t really deserve.
There was very little English spoken at either club, so to some degree I was alienated, but the effort taken to look after me was second to none. At night I was usually taken to one of the area’s restaurants and given much opportunity to sample the local cuisine. At one of these establishments, one of the finest in Japan, well according to it’s own brochure, I was given the difficult task of sitting on the floor as per the Japanese custom. After a short time it was evident that the Westerner was somewhat uncomfortable, so the whole party was shifted from one private dining room to another…complete with a sunken floor under the table so the less than supple photographer could sit comfortably and enjoy his meal.
I’m not sure if the restaurant’s advertising brochure was correct about it’s standing in Japanese cuisine, but I would have to say that it was probably the finest meal I had while I was in Japan, and given the level of hospitality I was shown throughout my trip, that is saying something.
I didn’t actually play either course while I was there, but I enjoyed the experience and would recommend that if the opportunity arises to play either of these fine clubs then take up the offer.
My experiences in Japan were outstanding and the hospitality was second to none. Was I just lucky? Or have you also been the recipient of gracious Japanese hospitality? Tell me of your experiences, I would enjoy comparing notes.