Better known for skyscrapers than for green spaces, Tokyo is, however, home to a number of parks and gardens. Though some are peaceful treed havens, others are among the most popular gathering places in town and make for great people watching.
Melding traditional Japanese, French, and English landscaping, Shinjuku Gyoen?s 2000 trees make for a peaceful green space within Tokyo.
Opened in 1967, Yoyogi Park is one of the largest of Tokyo?s parks. Forming a buffer between Harajuku and the Meji Jingu Shrine, Yoyogi Park is an exciting place to see modern Japanese youth culture on the weekends.
Imperial Palace East Gardens*
Immaculately manicured, the Imperial Palace Gardens house Edo castle?s ruined keep, and are a wonderfully calm place within the hustle and bustle of the capital. The Japanese style gardens provide a wonderful taste of what the county has to offer.
*Though the Imperial Palace East Gardens are open to the public, special permission is required to join a tour to some of the more secluded areas of the palace. For royalty or history buffs, Into Japan is more than happy to complete the required application for you.
Know for its crowds as well as its art galleries, museums and zoo, Ueno Park is a superb place for people watching, though there are a few natural treats as well. A gorgeous lotus pond is one of these. In the spring the park is renowned for cherry blossoms, and crowds of flower viewers picnicking under the trees give the park a festival atmosphere.
One of Tokyo?s finest stroll gardens, Rikugien is best known for its lovely weeping cherry blossom tree. The garden is designed to recreate 88 individual scenes from a famous poem.
Hama Rikyu Garden
Backed by skyscrapers and cloaked in green, Hama Rikyu Garden is a something of a peaceful oasis within Tokyo?s metropolis. Once a Shogun?s villa, the garden was opened to the public in 1948 and features tidal ponds, plum groves, and a peony garden.
Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden
This large stroll garden centres on a large pond which, though once filled tidally by sea water, is now the freshwater home to some impressive koi. Opened to the public in 1924, Kyu Shiba Rikyu was originally the residence of a high-level official during the Tokugawa Shogunate.
One of the most beautiful gardens in Tokyo, Koshikawa Korakuen features re-creations of famous landscapes. Abundant ornamental cherries make this one of the best places in Tokyo for hanami, or flower viewing parties.