Tokyo is most famously imagined as a towering metropolis of architectural glory and innovation but beneath the city, spires lay glorious parks kept immaculately in accordance with ancient gardening traditions and deep-seated Japanese love and care for nature.
Tokyo is considered by many to be a city of the future but it serves a reminder of how technological innovation, development, and nature can exist in some form of synchrony. Japanese parks are respected public areas brimming with some of the nation’s most iconic species of plants and flowers. One particularly iconic species of tree that you can find in Tokyo’s parks is the cherry blossom, a wonderful tree that has flourished in Japan’s subtropical humid climate for some 30,000 years or more.
The cherry blossom usually comes out in late March and is an event of national importance symbolizing the wonder of nature, the transience of time and the shifting seasons. Tokyo’s parks are crucial for any visit to the city, The Prince Hotels in Tokyo, Japan, provide a lovely base from which to enjoy the luxury of a Japanese hotel experience whilst visiting the beautiful city.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Originally owned by the feudal Naito family, this carefully kept national garden has three distinctive key features, a French formal garden, and an English garden as well as a traditional Japanese garden. It’s a bit of a hidden gem and though it isn’t the largest park by any stretch, it’s particularly quiet and evocative. It is also a must if you’re staying in one of the hotels near Shinjuku Station.
This large park is more Western in style with plenty of open grass and paved footpaths. It holds many annual events and festivities and has become a meeting point for buskers and street performers. Across the park, you can find stalls, artists, and performers as well as rock musicians that perform regularly day and night. Yoyogi Park is busy – don’t be surprised to find out that there’s something on the day you take a visit!
Imperial Palace East Garden
Just 10 to 15 minutes from Tokyo station, this free park is the former grounds of the Edo Castle home to thousands of Imperial Japanese artworks from across the centuries. You’ll find luscious grasses and trees as well as enormous rocks that once formed the castle walls. You’ll also be able to climb to the top of the castle’s ruined old fort.
If cherry and plum blossoms are out then Ueno Park is a must-visit. It’s absolutely packed full of glorious blossom trees that bloom through spring and is home to many blossom festivals that take part during the spring months of March to May. There are some 8,000 to 9,000 trees here including famous species of lotus, the park is also home to many species of birds. It’s a large park with plenty of space – perfect for family walks.
You can find this small but lovely park near the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station in Fukagawa. It features ponds and streams where you can usually see various species of turtles and fish including the iconic Koi Karp. Stones are set into the water forming paths from which you can navigate the shallow pools.
Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden
Japan’s parks and gardens often try and mirror and symbolize nature. This small paradise lies just outside of Tokyo’s main inner-city area. It’s more of a landscaped garden than a park and feature shaped mini-hills designed to symbolize mountains and small pools that symbolize the oceans. Everything is perfectly shaped to be miniaturized depictions of large-scale natural landscapes.