Tokyo is rich when it comes to nature compared to other places in Japan. Walking on the street you will already find quite some trees, but in the parks and gardens that Tokyo has, you will be blown away. Below you will find a guide of some of the biggest parks in Tokyo that are definitely worth going to while you are visiting Tokyo.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the largest and most popular parks in Tokyo. Its location is close to Shinjuku Station. The Garden actually consists of 3 gardens total, the Japanese Garden, French Garden and the English Garden, with ponds, lawns, stones, bridges, flowers, etc. Shinjuku Gyoen is popular for viewing the cherry blossoms in spring and for viewing the autumn leaves in autumn.
Shinjuku Gyoen is a beautiful park to just go for a stroll and to take amazing pictures. The amount of green in the park is insane, and the smell of nature (especially after the rain) makes walking in Shinjuku Gyoen even more peaceful. There are multiple benches in the park from which the scenery can be enjoyed, you might even catch some older Japanese people painting and drawing the scenery from the park that they see in front of their eyes.
Shinjuku Gyoen has three gates where tickets can be bought to enter the park. At these gates you will be able to buy tickets at a machine or at a ticket booth. For discount tickets you will have to go to the ticket booth, these are located next to the machines. The entrance gates are also the places where you will be able to exit the garden again.
The price to enter the garden is ¥500 for adults, and some discounts for students and elders available.
The best ways to get to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is to either get off at ‘Shinjuku Station’, ‘Shinjuku Gyoenmae Station’ or ‘Sendagaya Station’. Each of these stations has an entrance gate located nearby.
9:00 – 18:00 (March 15 -June 30 / August 21 – September 30)
9:00 – 19:00 (July 1 – August 20)
9:00 – 16:30 (October 1 – March 14)
Yoyogi Park (And the Meiji Shrine)
In Shibuya you will find Yoyogi Park, a beautiful and relatively big park which is home to the Meiji Shrine. The park is amazing to discover and has nice Japanese aspects to it, such as the Japanese wine barrels. The park has a nice pond as well, but the park is best known for being home to the Meiji Shrine, a shinto shrine dedicated to the spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.
At the entrances of the shrine there are some ‘cleaning stations’, where you can purify your hands and mouth before offering up a prayer at the shrine. There is a certain way to do this, you can always ask a local how to do it, since the people are very friendly. Some places even have a ‘guide’ on how to purify your hands and mouth before praying, which are very useful.
At the shrine you are also able to write wishes and tie them to a prayer wall, and get a poetry message linked to the number you draw from a box. You can watch some of the locals pray, and even try to do it yourself. You toss some coins in the box, the amount of money is not important, however, 5 or 50 yen are considered to be lucky numbers, then you bow twice, clap twice, and bow once more.
Going to a shrine or temple is a fun experience, you can see some of the culture up close, seeing the people pray and try some ‘fortune and praying’ yourself as well. You are also able to draw fortune cards, when it’s a bad fortune card, you can tie it to a rack in the shrine. By doing this, the gods will help you convert the bad luck into good luck.
There is no entrance fee to get in Yoyogi Park or to see the Meiji Shrine and the park is open 24 hours a day, so you can go in at any time.
The easiest way is to go to Yoyogi Park is to get off at Harajuku Station, from here it is a 5-minute walk to the park.
Yoyogi Park opening time: 24 hours
Meiji Shrine opening time: 05:00 – 18:00
Rikugi-en (Rikugi Park)
Rikugi-en means ‘Garden of the Six Principles of Poetry’ which comes from the idea of the six elements in waka poetry while ‘en’ means garden or park. The park itself is a good-looking green park with a lake in the middle. There are some maps at the park that also give you 2 routes to walk. One that takes approximately 30-40 minutes and one that takes approximately 60-70 minutes to complete. These routes are wheelchair friendly as well. Along these routes are some side-roads to take in the park that might bring you to a small hut or a small river. Some of the scenic spots in the park have signs that will tell you information about why certain things were built in this park and its meaning of it. Most information on these signs is in Japanese.
The moment you walk into the park you will see a ticket office on the left side, the prices for the entrance will be shown here. After buying a ticket here you can go in, you don’t have to show the ticket again after. The price to enter the park is ¥300 for adults and ¥150 for seniors. There are discounts for groups over 20 people.
The easiest way to get to Rikugi-en (Rikigu Park) is to get off at Komagome Station, from the station you will see a sign that will direct you towards the entrance of the Rikigu Park. While walking from the station you will first find the closed entrance. This used to be an entrance but has been closed down. Continue walking in the same street and you will see signs towards the entrance of the park.
Opening times: 09:00 – 16:30 (Gate closes at 17:00)
Hama Rikyu Gardens
Hama Rikyu is a garden located next to Tokyo Bay. The
garden has a big contrast between the traditionally styled garden itself, and the skyscrapers of the Shiodome district next to the garden. The park has some seawater ponds, a forest, flower fields and some teahouses.
The park has two entrances which also serve as exits, the ‘Nakanogomon Gate’ and the ‘Otemon Gate’. These are both located on the side of Shiodome Station.
Upon entering the park, you will see a ticket office, at both entrances the ticket office will be on the right side. The admission fee for the park is ¥300, after getting your ticket you can go in the park. You won’t have to show your ticket again after buying it.
The best way to get to Hama Rikyu Gardens is to get off at Shiodome Station, it is a 5-10-minute walk from this station. After exiting the station, you will be able to see a ‘Hama Rikyu Gardens’ sign, follow the sign and you will easily get to one of the gates, which gate depends on if you take a left or a right.
Opening times: 9:00 – 17:00 (Last admission 16:30)