Shinjuku Gyoen(新宿御苑)

Surprisingly, Shinjuku Gyoen has one of the most beautiful Japanese gardens in Tokyo. It is a vast park and has different garden sections: a Japanese garden with two ponds connected by a small river, a formal French garden with roses en masse and an English Landscape garden.

The park used to be the residence of the Naitō daimyō clan and was built in the Edo period (1603-1868). In the Meiji period (1868-1912), the Imperial Household Agency took over the garden and remodeled it for the imperial family in 1906. It was completely destroyed in the Second World War in 1945. In 1949, the gardens were opened to the public for the first time.

Especially in spring, between end of March and end of April, the Japanese garden is worth a visit when more than 1500 cherry trees turn the landscapes in all shades of white and pink. The perfectly round trimmed azaleas shine in a bright pink and purple in May and June. There is also a Japanese tea house with a marvellous view of the pond, surrounded by a tree panorama that manages to screen out Tokyo’s modern buildings.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Gardens
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Shinjuku Gyoen


17 pages full of information about the Shinjuku Gyoen
33 pictures of the gardens

22MB
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Directions

How to get there
You can get to the park by either walking in a westward direction from Shinjuku Station or Yoyogi Station or take the Marunouchi line to Shinjuku-Gyoen-Mae station (新宿御苑前). Another subway station close by is Shinjuku San-chome (新宿三丁目), served by Marunouchi line, Shinjuku line and Fukutoshin line.

Admission
500 yen

Opening times
10/1 – 3/14 9:00am to 4:00pm (closes at 4:30)
3/15 – 9/30 9:00am to 5:30pm (closes at 6:00)
7/1 – 8/20 9:00am to 6:30pm (closes at 7:00)
Closed on Mondays and between December 29th and January 3rd

Tel
+81-(0)3-3350-0151

Address
11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Rikugien(六義園 )

One of the most beautiful gardens in Tokyo, the Rikugien offers a quiet resting and strolling place in the hectic Tokyo life. It is situated in the quiet neighborhood of Komagome and Sugamo (Bunkyo ward), which are also worth a visit.

The garden is a strolling garden of the Edo period (1603-1868). Samurai Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu built the garden with the permission of the shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi between 1695 and 1702. Originally, 88 famous views from Japanese and Chinese landscapes have been imitated in miniature form in this garden, however, only 32 remain today. The garden’s name translates literally Six Rules Garden and refers to the six basic rules of Waka poetry. Waka translates as “Japanese Poem”, and has its roots in the Heian period (794-1185).

Rikugi-en is one of Tokyo’s finest gardens and offers the visitor an ever-changing landscape. Although its square footage is considerable, the garden feels closed and intimate. We recommend enjoying the view over the garden while having a bowl of green matcha tea in the tea house.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Highlights
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Rikugien

17 pages full of information about the Rikugien Garden
39 pictures of the gardens

PDF 25MB

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Rikugi-en Video
Watch the Rikugi-en video

Directions

How to get there
The garden is hidden in the quiet neighborhood of Komagome and Sugamo in the north of central Tokyo, but can be reached conveniently by the Yamanote line or the Namboku line, Komagome station. The garden is south of the station.

Address
JP: 東京都文京区本駒込六丁目
EN: 6 Chome Honkomagome Bunkyō-ku, Tōkyō

Admission
300 Yen

Opening times
9:00am – 5:00pm (last entry 4:30pm)
Closed between December 29th and January 1st

Kyū-Shiba-Rikyū Teien(旧芝離宮庭園)

The Kyū-Shibarikyū garden is a former imperial garden in southern Tokyo. It is a typical pond strolling garden (回遊式泉水庭園) from the Edo period. The land it is built on was reclaimed from the Tokyo bay in 1658. The premises were the residence of daimyō Ōkubo Tadatomo, a politician of the Edo shogunate. The layout is typical for Samurai-style architecture (Buke-zukuri – 武家造). The owners changed again and again over the time until after the end of the Edo period (1603-1868), it was purchased by the imperial household and became the Shiba Detached Imperial Villa.

While the gardens in north Tokyo (Rikugi-en and Koishikawa garden) have a secluded feel to it, Kyū-Shibarikyū feels open and airy. The surrounding high rise buildings, the landmarks of modern Tokyo are a striking contrast to the overall softness of this over 300 year old garden. The garden itself is magnificent – immaculately maintained, small enough to oversee from one of the vantage points, and large enough to discover new views and perspectives with every turn of the path. Jenny’s absolute favorite garden in Tokyo.

Contents:
Introduction
The Pond
Rocks in the garden
Fences in the garden
Paths in the garden
Plants in the garden
The garden in winter

13 pages packed with detailed information about this Daimyo garden
63 great pictures of the garden, its rocks, ponds and plants

14MB
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Directions

How to get there
The garden is conveniently located next to the Hamamatsu-chō station(浜松町) of the Yamanote line. Just walk 1 minute to the west and you will get to the entrance gates.
The subway station Daimon (大門) is 3 minutes away. Use the Oedo line and Asakusa line to get here.

Address
JP: 東京都港区海岸 1-4-1
EN: 1-4-1 Kaigan, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Admission
150 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 3rd.

Koishikawa Korakuen(小石川後楽園)

The Koishikawa garden, formally called Koishikawa-kōraku-en (小石川後楽園), is a small garden jewel in Tokyo. Well preserved from the Edo period (1603-1868), it is one of the oldest gardens in Tokyo. The daimyo and son of shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Tokugawa Yorifusa started to build the garden in 1629, and his son Tokugawa Mitsukuni finished it in 1669 with the help of the Chinese scholar Shu Shunsui.

The garden features several scenes that represent famous Japanese and Chinese landscapes. As typical for strolling gardens, there is a pond in the middle of the garden, and a path that leads around it. The garden master designed the garden that the visitor sees a different scenery, a different view every few steps. The pond of the garden is fed by the water of the nearby Koishikawa river (Little stone river).

Especially the nearby Tokyo dome, the tower of the Bunkyo Civic Center with the sky view lounge, and the screams from the small amusement park’s roller coaster make clear that this garden is a sweet little oasis in the middle of Tokyo.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Lanterns
  • Waterfalls
  • Stones
  • Highlights
  • Flowers
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Koishikawa Korakuen

23 pages full of information about the Koishikawa Korakuen Garden
56 pictures of the gardens

PDF 10MB
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TESTIMONIAL
Since moving to Tokyo, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with many people who share my interests, particularly in the food and garden category. One of those new acquaintances is Anika, who is part of the team behind Real Japanese Gardens. After exchanging numerous emails and bonding over our mutual love of gardens (though her actual gardening knowledge far outstrips mine!), she kindly sent me a copy of one of their e-books, a guide to Koishikawa Korakuen. So early in September, with e-book in hand (or rather in iDevice), I trotted off to one of Tokyo’s most well-known metropolitan gardens to “road test” the guide.

Read more

Uncover

Japan

Directions

How to get there
To get to the Koishikawa gardens, you can either go directly to Koshikawa station (小石川駅) with the Marunouchi or Namboku line or take the Sobu line or Mita line to Suidobashi station (水道場所).
But the nearest Station is IIdabashi, which is served by the Sobu-Line, Tozai-Line, Namboku-Line, Yurakucho-Line and Oedo-Line.

Address
JP: 東京都文京区後楽1-6-6
EN: 1-6-6 Koraku, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Opening times
9am – 5pm (last entrance at 4:30)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 1st.

Admission
300 Yen

Hamarikyū Teien(浜離宮恩賜庭園)

The Hamarikyū garden is a large strolling garden directly next to Tokyo bay. It was built by the shogun Tokugawa in the Edo period (1603-1868). The garden’s ponds are connected to the Tokyo bay so the water level of the ponds changed with the tide. Large parts of the garden were reed fields, and the southern garden was used by the Shogun’s family for falconry and duck hunting.

With the Meiji Restauration in 1868, the Tokugawa shogunate fell and the imperial family built a detached villa on the grounds of the garden. This is also where the garden’s name comes from – Hama (浜) means “beach”, “seashore”; and rikyū (離宮) means “detached palace”. Teien (庭園) is a word for “garden” or “park”.

The garden has meandering ponds interconnected by little streams. There is a tea house on the middle island (中島 – Nakashima) of the southern pond, a plum grove (visit in late February to March), a 300-year-old pine tree and a field of wildflowers (cosmea and rape flowers). It is a nice garden to take a long walk. Because the garden is large, you rarely meet other visitors.

A free audio guide in English is available at the ticket gates – it has several guided tours, but it also allows you to roam around freely and just gives you information when you come to an important part of the garden.

Contents:
  • Introduction
  • History
  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Mountains
  • Highlights
  • Flowers
  • Anikas Impressions
  • Around Hamarikyū garden


20 pages full of information about the Hamarikyū garden
38 pictures of the gardens

PDF 27MB

The eBook is delivered as PDF.

Feel free to pin these pictures to your Pinterest board:

Directions

How to get there
To get to Hamarikyu gardens, take the Yamanote line to Shinbashi (新橋駅) or the Oedo line to Shiodome(汐留駅)。Walk eastwards from there.
There is also the possibility to go by boat from Asakusa to the garden. But since the boat is quite low, often you don’t see more than the quay walls. The entrance fee to the garden is included in the fare.

Address
東京都中央区浜離宮庭園1-1
1-1 Hamarikyu Teien, Chuo, Tokyo

Telephone
03-3541-0200 ‎

Admission
300 Yen

Opening hours
9am – 5pm (last entry at 4:30pm)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 1st.

Mukōjima-hyakka-en  (向島百花園)

This garden was built by an antique dealer between 1804 and 1830.

The name of the garden means “a garden with a hundred flowers that bloom throughout the four seasons”, and the garden is indeed known for very beautiful flowering trees and shrubs.

At the time when the garden first opened, its main feature was 360 ume trees.

In later years, many different blooming flowers and plants mentioned in classic Chinese and Japanese works of literature and poetry were collected, enabling visitors to enjoy blooming flowers throughout the year.

The garden is the only surviving flower garden from the Edo Period. What is also special about it is that it was not built as a part of a residence.

Contents:

Introduction

History

Highlights

Flower Highlights

Anikas Impressions

Around Mukōjima-hyakkaen

12 pages full of information about the Mukōjima-hyakkaen

20 pictures of the garden

PDF 14MB

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Directions

How to get there
The closest metro station is Higashi-Mukojima of the Tobu-Skytree-Line. From the station, head 500m east to get to the garden.

Opening times
9am – 5pm (last entrance at 4:30)

Closed around New Year between December 29th and January 3rd.

Admission
150 Yen

Address
JP: 東京都墨田区東向島三丁目
EN: Tokyo, Sumida-ku, Higashimukojima 3-18-3