Sometimes when you’re in the city, you just want to get away and see some nature. If you’re in Tokyo, you should definitely check out Shinjuku Gyoen, which is Tokyo’s most famous parks.
Close to Shinjuku Station, this park is spacious, tranquil, and filled with cherry blossoms during the cherry blossom season (usually late March to late April.) There is an admission of 200 yen (which is about $1.81 USD,) but it’s a small fee to enjoy one of Tokyo’s most luxurious parks.
As you explore, you can see the rich history of the garden. Centuries ago during the Edo Period, it was the residence of a feudal lord, then used as a botanical garden. In the early 20th century, the Imperial Family owned it and used it to entertain their guests. After World War II, the park was heavily damaged, but it was rebuilt and people decided to convert it into a public park.
To get the best out of Shinjuku Gyoen, you need to explore its three main gardens. First, you have your traditional Japanese garden. You’ll find ponds with little islands, bridges, shrubs and trees, and a pavilion known as the Kyu Goryotei, which the Showa Emperor used for his wedding. Every November, you can see a chrysanthemum exhibit too.
The second garden is French themed. It has perfect symmetry and is quite formal. The third garden is English themed, and you’ll find a cherry trees and an open area. Great for relaxing.
There are other parts of this park too, from forests, structures, an art gallery, a place to eat, and even a greenhouse. There is a lot to do, and the cost is fair.
So when is the best time to visit Shinjuku Gyoen? Well, it depends, as there’s something going on every season. In the autumn, it’s quite beautiful. The leaves and trees will change colors, and you can find yourself looking at this spectacle and experiencing the park in a new light. This will usually happen mid-November to December, which is a bit later than autumn in the US.
During cherry blossom season, you can see a viewing session of all the beautiful trees they have to offer. You’ll find over 400 trees there, making it one of Tokyo’s best hanami places. Hanami is when they welcome spring. You may know it as a cherry blossom festival.
How to Get Inside
If you want to visit Shinjuku Gyoen, you have three entrances you can use. If you’re going to the Shinjuku Gate, it’s east of JR Shinjuku Station, and will take you ten minutes to walk there. If you’re taking the Maruouchi Subway line, it’ll be five minutes for both the New South Exit and the Okido Gate. For Sendagaya Gate, it’s a five minute walk. Overall, it’s not too far, and you’ll be walking a lot in the park, anyway.
When is it Open?
It’s open from 9:00 to 16:30 (9:00 AM to 4:30 PM)
It’s open every day except for Monday, but open all week during the cherry blossom season and the Chrysanthemum Exhibition, which is during the beginning half of November.
Any Forbidden Items?
You can’t drink alcohol there, which is understandable, as most parks don’t allow that. You also can’t bring toys or sports equipment there. The park is for relaxing and viewing, and they don’t want children to damage the scenery.
So if you’re in the area and you want to relax, why not check out Shinjuku Gyoen? It’s cheap, beautiful, and a great way to see how awesome nature is in Japan.
Name: Shinjuku Gyoen
Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0014
Business hour: 9:00 to 16:30
Phone number: (+81)3-3350-0151
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