Hama Rikyu Gardens
Located in the shadow of the Shiodome skyline is the sprawling Hama Rikyu Gardens, its size comparable with Ueno Park and the Imperial East Gardens. But the comparison stops there as the Hama Rikyu is completely unique. Thanks to its huge plot of land, it can afford spaciousness for all of its features, as clearly seen in the fields of the West half of the Garden which great you when first pass the admissions office. These fields are not un-like the Imperial Garden's Kokyo Gaien area. Another unique feature is the mote which surrounds the Garden at all sides, and on the East side the mote transforms into a sea wall for Tokyo Bay, giving a fantastic view of not only the bay itself but the Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba and others.
The journey begins by crossing over the mote on a wide stone arched bridge. Heading south you will enter the fields, or as they are named: the Site of Enryo-Kan and the Open Square, wide expanses of grass and finely trimmed pines. The Shiodome skyline towers over the tree line, yet does not conflict but augments and gives a unique background, mixing metropolis and nature.
After making your way through the fields, turn South West and you'll walk straight into the main feature of the Hama Rikyu. The Shioiri no ike (the lake) and the Nakajimi no ochaya (the tea house on the island)
Facing the lake is a full service convenience store, as well as a charming trellis where you can sit and view the lake.
A low cedar foot bridge takes you into the vast lake, and to the charming tea house which sits in on an island in the middle. For a fee (500 yen) you can enter the tea house and have some ocha (green tea) and have a tranquil moment looking out upon the scenery.
The Shioiri no ike flows into the river Yokobori on the far East side of the Garden, and then flows out into the Tokyo Bay. Talk a walk along the finely landscaped Sea Wall and feel the cool ocean breeze while you witness the fantastic view of the Bay and Tokyo.
If you're there at the right time of year (spring) these gardens will be in bloom and exploding with color. Otherwise they are patches of green and not very exciting.
Hibiya Subway Line, Tsukiji Station.
Admission: 300 yen
Hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm (last entry at 4:30)
Closed: Year-end holidays. (Dec 29 - Jan 1)