Tokyo might look like a concrete jungle, but the big city also has plenty of greenery. Tokyo is full of spacious parks, too. These inner-city green spaces are perfect for escaping the busy streets’ hustle and bustle. So pack a picnic, apply sunscreen, and laze the day away in one of Tokyo’s best parks.
From relaxing gardens to illuminated autumn leaves and even sophisticated tea sipping in the middle of a pond. Here is our guide to Tokyo’s most beautiful parks and what to visit them for.
Around the corner from Ginza is Hibiya Park, Japan’s first Western-style park, built in 1903. Hibiya Park, with its carefully maintained trees and flower beds, is an oasis of calm in the heart of Tokyo. The flower gardens are full of vibrant blossoms in the spring and radiant golden trees in the autumn. The park is one of the largest within easy striking distance of the Marunouchi central business district to the northeast. So it is a buzzing spot for office workers when the weather is nice.
This iconic park has a bit of everything! Japanese gardens, Western landscaping with fountains, fields of tulips in spring, and a Christmas market in December. The park is also free and always open. It’s quite pretty and a breath of fresh air, easily accessible from Hibiya, Kasumigaseki, and Uchisaiwaicho Station.
Hibiya Park has plenty of benches to relax while gazing at the fountains and sculptures. It also has cozy spots to have tea and catch a glimpse of the local wildlife. So this park is the perfect place to take a break from the city’s bustling atmosphere!
The Imperial Palace East Gardens is a spacious, sprawling garden in the center of Tokyo. These gardens are one of the city’s iconic touristic places, sheltering the ruins of Edo Castle in a well-maintained park. You can even climb the ruins of one of the donjons (main keeps) off the upper lawn. Most people enter through Ōte-mon, the closest gate to Tokyo Station, which used to be the main entrance to Edo-jō.
The East Garden surrounds the Emperor and Imperial Family’s living quarters. Just walking through gives you a sense of the Imperial Palace’s scale and Japan’s power. These wonders are free to enter, and visiting here is one of the best bargains. But remember that the number of visitors is limited, so try to arrive early in the morning!
You’ll want to stroll through the Ninomaru Garden, a traditional Japanese garden from the Edo period. It’s exceptionally stunning in autumn as the momiji (maple leaves) turn from bright green to red. This woodland area is one of the prettiest parts of the garden, with a pond and a beautiful teahouse. The large lawn is where the Honmaru, the castle’s central compound, was once located. Just inside the gate, don’t miss the Museum of Imperial Collections, showcasing the artworks owned by the imperial family.
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Rinshi no Mori is more like an off-the-beaten-path forest than a neighborhood park. This one-of-a-kind park started as a plant nursery and is now home to several hundred tree species. Free events happen twice a month. So you can enjoy looking at trees and participating in fun workshops with your friends and family.
This place is perfect if you are looking for an excellent place to gaze at different wildlife. There are tons of different signs showing the type of wildlife you should expect to find while visiting. But keep in mind that it is a park with bountiful nature. So bug spray is a must unless you want to be eaten alive.
There are two playgrounds to entertain the young, and the jogging paths have trees along their path. You can also find a small pond in the area, home to several turtles and koi fish. It’s a great place to escape from the summer heat for a while. You can enjoy a nice picnic lunch with many tables spread around the area. Treat yourself and grab some shade beneath the plentiful trees!
If you want to check out one green space in Tokyo, consider making it Shinjuku Gyoen. It’s so different from the jam-packed surrounding streets that it’s almost as if you’ve stepped out of the city. Shinjuku Gyoen is easily accessible on foot from Shinjuku Station, Sendagaya Station, or Shinjuku Gyoemmae Station. To make the most of a sunny day, combine your visit with Inokashira Park. It’s just a short trip west of Shinjuku.
This fantastic park covers 144 acres and continues to be one of Tokyo’s best places to visit. The area, once belonging to a feudal lord, is expansive and features Japanese, French, and English gardens. Some teahouses offer Japanese matcha here. The Japanese Traditional Garden it’s also the perfect spot for a picnic! It’s convenient, too, considering you can get bento boxes and other treats in Shinjuku before entering.
You can find Japanese cherry blossoms in many places across Tokyo during spring. But Shinjuku Gyoen and Ueno Park are some of the city’s best parks to gaze at these beauties! The park is also famous for autumn leaves viewing in autumn.
What’s the best way to hide a hideous and monstrous highway intersection? Just cover it up and turn it into a lovely, quiet garden! The Meguro Sky Garden is a secret garden built on the roof of the Metropolitan Expressway. The impression of a suspended park in the city is breathtaking, with visitors able to overlook the surrounding buildings. Here, you can isolate yourself from the crazy bustle of Tokyo for a well-deserved natural break.
While Yoyogi Park and other temples and shrines offer green spaces, none match Meguro Sky Garden! Home to a small vegetable garden and well-kept flower beds, this nine-story park is a spectacle of Japanese architecture. Over 1,000 trees grace the garden, including cherry blossoms and pine. See if you can spot the vine trees that residents use to make wine. Other garden parts include a children’s play area, a Japanese Garden, and a bamboo grove.
The Meguro Sky Garden has a library, a large football field, and a car park. It’s a jungle amongst the city’s concrete and a perfect place to catch the sunset over a picnic. Just grab some baked goodies from the nearby bakery L’atelier Motozo and watch out for Mt Fuji in the distance.
All in all, Tokyo is a much greener city than most people imagine. It’s full of parks and gardens worth exploring, where you can get a little deserved rest from the city concrete. Whether you want to spend a day outdoors or in a quiet garden to find peace, it won’t disappoint you.
We’re talking about some of the best-underrated parks you can visit to discover an alternative vibe to the metropolis. Have you been to a park in Tokyo before? Do you have a favorite one? Let us know in the comments below!
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