Tokyo’s Top Ten Gardens and Parks
The epitome of beauty in Tokyo will be found in its gardens. For a small fee (around 3$ USD) you can take a stroll and admire the simplicity and aesthetics of these meticulously crafted works of art.
Elements include Japanese stone lanterns, perfectly round pink azalea bushes, purple irises, finely trimmed pine trees and more.
Don’t think if you’ve seen one Japanese garden you’ve seen them all. They may contain the same elements, however each has its own personality, design and feeling.
We have prepared a list of the top gardens in Tokyo, each deserving of a visit.
The Shinjuku National Gyoen (garden) is the jewel in Tokyo’s crown. Not only is it just under one square mile, it hosts a wide assortment of features, including the largest traditional Japanese garden in Tokyo, a Taiwanese Pavilion, a greenhouse, a French rose garden, rivers, ponds and more.
Due to its size it is one of the few gardens where you can actually get lost. It is this that makes you forget that you’re in the largest metropolis in the world.
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Imperial Palace East Gardens
Previously the emperor’s residence you can imagine that the garden here would be bar-none. Well it certainly comes close,. Rivaling the Shinjuku Gyoen’s Gardens, The East Gardens not only has a breath-taking garden and pond it has a tower which gives one a full panorama of the downtown area. The tower overlooks the Garden’s central field, a wide soft grass lawn where visitors can bask in its spaciousness. The entire compound is surrounded by high stone walls giving one a rare glimpse of what an ancient Japanese castle looks like.
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While you won’t find any gardens in Ueno Park you will find much, much more. Beginning with a shrine, a temple, over ten museums and institutions, a batting field, a zoo, several café’s, a five story pagoda and more. One can certainly spend the entire day strolling around and checking things out in Ueno Park. The park itself is free, however visiting the museums does carry a fee.
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Hama Rikyu Gardens
There are many things which set the Hama Rikyu apart from all other gardens in Tokyo. One of them being that Tokyo Bay borders one side of the oblong garden, giving one a chance to promenade along the water whilst still in the park, catch the breeze and look out upon the bay. The Hama Rikyu’s water features are also most impressive, with a fairly large lake and river system for visitors to explore.
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Kyu Shiba Rikyu Gardens
Just a short walk south of the Hama Rikyu you will find the Kyu Shiba Gardens. The Kyu Shiba has the curious characteristic of being fairly compact yet at the same time rather expansive. From most any vantage you can view the entire garden and all of its elements, unlike most where things are segregated and you can only see one area at a time.
The Kyu Shiba is possibly the best designed garden in Tokyo for the afore stated reasons.
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A well kept secret in Tokyo, the Rikugien Gardens are definitely off the beaten path, straddling between cities Sugamo and Komagome, on the out skirts of Tokyo. The garden is anchored upon a central pond, with brilliantly designed shores and outer paths. It is said that every step you take around the pond the garden transforms, revealing something new and different.
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Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
One of the best preserved and oldest parks in the city, the Korakuen hosts two ancient bridges. A key design factor in the Korakuen is dimension. Not only does it have a 50 foot ravine, but rice paddies and several ponds, surprising one that there could be so much diversity in one space.
The Korakuen also has a particularly beautiful pond and island hidden away in one of its corners, it like many other things in the garden is well hidden and must be searched out by the visitor.
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A charming garden reminiscent of the Hama Rikyu, with a large lake and island tea house. (but this one is literally standing on the water)
Kyu Furukawa Gardens
The Furukawa holds a large stone mansion with an elaborate rose garden. Aside from the European mansion it does have a charming traditional Japanese garden.
The Tonogayato possibly has the most dimensions out of all garden’s in Tokyo. Steep slopes and thick foliage take you away from the city.