Shinjuku Gyoen is one of Tokyo’s largest and most visited parks. Walking distance from Shinjuku Station, the park has over 140 acres and provides the perfect escape from crazy Shinjuku around it.
Shinjuku Gyoen was constructed on the site of a private mansion belonging to a feudal lord. It was later converted into a botanical garden and finally transferred to the Imperial Family at the beginning of 1900s. During WWII, the park was vastly destroyed and then rebuilt and reopened in 1949 as a public park.
The Park merges three different garden styles: French Formal Garden, English Landscape Garden and Japanese Traditional Garden. Among the 20,000 trees which grow in Shinjuku Gyoen, there are the first examples planted in Japan such plants as tulip trees, planes, Himalayan cedars and bald cypresses. In spring (late March and early April) Shinjuku Gyoen becomes one of the best places in the city to see cherry blossoms.
The beautiful English Landscape Garden…
The traditional Japanese garden within the Park, with large ponds, bridges and manicured trees. The pavilion is the Kyu Goryotei (also called the Taiwan Pavilion), built for the wedding of the Showa Emperor. A chrysanthemum exhibit is held here during November.
The Tamamo Pond, next to Okido Gate. This is probably my favourite spot inside the Park. Years ago, when I moved to Japan, this was one of the first places I came to shoot. The beauty and peaceful vibe of this garden still resonates within me.
The awesome greenhouse, opened in 2012, with its giant lily pads and perfect orchids
If the weather is nice, consider bringing a picnic lunch! There are a couple of cafes/restaurants inside the park but it’s always more fun to have a picnic in that perfect spot under the trees.
Wear comfortable shoes! You are going to walk. A LOT
If you’re visiting the Park during Summer, definitely bring mosquito repellent
The Old Imperial Rest House, close to the greenhouse, is under restoration so you won’t be able to see it
Although there is no playground with playsets and using balls, frisbees etc. is not allowed in the garden, this is a nice place to come with children and enjoy the huge lawn.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden: 11 Naito-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0014, Tel:+81-(0)3-3350-0151, Fax:+81-(0)3-3350-1372, Opening Hours: 9:00-16:00 (Gates close at 16:30) More info HERE, Access HERE, Admission: ¥200 Adults, ¥50 Kids
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