It is no secret that the Japanese love nature. Tucked amidst the skyscrapers, temples and shrines of Tokyo, lie a number of lush spaces that offer an escape from the concrete jungle. These 6 enchanting parks in Tokyo are worth exploring if you would like to stroll, have a picnic or simply take in the beauty of it all.
1. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden brings together three types of landscaped gardens – French, English and Japanese. With the lake as a centrepiece, the garden has spacious lawns, a traditional Japanese tea house, bridges, fountains and over 20,000 trees including cherry blossoms. This picturesque garden is a popular destination during spring and autumn.
Getting here: 10 minute walk from Shinjuku Station
Admission: 200 yen
2. Imperial Palace East Garden
Designed as part of the Tokyo Imperial Palace, this garden contains the remains of the Edo Castle walls, bridges and moats. One of the most mesmerising parts of the garden is Ninomaru Grove, a wooded area with a pond, lawn and teahouse. For a glimpse of history, you can also check out the Museum of Imperial Collections.
Getting here: Short walk from Otemachi Station (Otemon entrance) or 10-15 minute walk from Tokyo Station
3. Ueno Park
Established in 1873, Ueno Park was originally part of Kaneiji Temple, a significant landmark during the Edo Period. One of liveliest hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spots in Tokyo, it is home to many museums including the Tokyo National Museum, National Science Museum, and Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, as well as the Ueno Zoo.
Getting here: Next to the JR Ueno Station
Admission: Free (500 yen for inner shrine admission)
4. Rikugien Garden
Literally translated to “Garden of the Six Principles of Poetry”, the garden is inspired by the elements of waka poetry. The serene landscapes of the large park brings to life 88 scenes from well-known poems. Whether it is the golden maple leaves of autumn, or the weeping cherry blossoms of spring, Rikugien Garden has the perfect backdrop for a rendezvous with nature.
Getting here: 7 mins walk from Komagome Station, 10 minutes from Sengoku Station
Admission: 300 yen for adults, 150 yen for seniors (65 and over), free for elementary and high school students
5. Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park is one of the biggest and most popular parks of Tokyo. It was the main site for the 1964 Olympics athletes village, and hosts huge festivals on its open air stage. You can also visit the Meiji Shrine and National Gymnasium nearby.
Getting here: 5 mins walk from Harajuku Station
6. Todoroki Valley
Most people would not imagine that Tokyo would have a place quite like Todoroki Valley. It feels more like a mini jungle than a garden! Away from the city centre, the narrow valley meanders alongside a river, hidden from the outside world by its forest-like canopy. If you enjoy walking, Todoroki Valley has a picturesque route that takes you to cascading waterfalls, secret gardens, shrines and a temple.
Getting here: Short walk from Todoroki Station