19Every summer Hibiya Park hosts a series of festivals and traditional events, from o-bon dances to Japanese jack 'o lantern fairs to live goldsh stalls, followed in the fall by displays of award-winning and often gigantic chrysanthemums. The unpretentious park is also home to secluded ponds surrounded by brilliantly hued Japanese maple trees in autumn and rows of pale pink cherry trees in the spring. It's an ideal place to get to know some of your more affable Japanese hosts while they are enjoying their packed lunchbox meals on their lunch hour on one of the many park benches.Stroll on and discover a number of picturesque old wooden cafes that still offer tea and coffee both indoors and out. You are also likely to come upon pretty, tranquil ponds inhabited by all kinds of turtles.IN THE PARK NEXT DOORIf you look, you'll find quiet, verdant pockets of greenery and flowers during every season of the year somewhere in the charmingly unstudied park across the street. Hibiya Park is the very first western style public park in Tokyo, and home to the jolly Tokyo Ondo, the o-bon dance that was introduced to the public there in the Meiji Era and now performed almost nationwide during the o-bon all souls' festival in August. Everyone is welcome to participate, and yukata summer kimono are de rigueur.The brick-faced Hibiya Public Hall opened at the beginning of the Showa Era, and remains to this day situated at one side of what was the very rst western style public park in Tokyo, Hibiya Park, across the street from the Imperial Hotel. The Hall became a symbol of recovery after vast sections of the capital were razed or burned down after the catastrophic Great Kanto Earthquake in September of 1923, which occurred the very day our daringly eye-catching and intensely elaborate Frank Lloyd Wright Imperial opened to the public. The Hibiya Public Hall remains in use today and has served as the stage for countless musical and dramatic performances by the likes of Fyodor Ivanovich Chaliapin (who left us the Chaliapin Steak we still offer here today), Charlie Chaplin and Herbert von Karajan, among many, many others.