A Guide to Tokyo’s Parks and Gardens

Escape the grey, here's a comprehensive list of parks, gardens, trails and the like in Tokyo. A comprehensive guide to Tokyo's nature and all things green.

“Inside and outside [grey] his house / with the [grey] little window / and a [grey] corvette / and everything is [grey] for him and himself.”

“Blue (Da Ba De)” by Eiffel 65

Life in a big city can be depressing. Add some color to your life by visiting Tokyo’s vibrant parks and gardens. With the four seasons, it’s never stagnant.  The parks and gardens are constantly cycling from luscious green to intense red. Here is a list of all things nature related to brighten up your day:

Parks

Gardens

Trails/Hikes

Special Mention

Parks

Yoyogi Koen (Park)

Yoyogi Koen (Park)

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Yoyogi Park, a favorite amongst locals and tourists, is always bustling with activities. You can see a motley crew of individuals practicing their favorite activities here; for example, rockabilly dancers in leather jackets can be seen rocking out to 1950s jukebox hits every Sunday. This famous park also hosts a large variety of festivals – ranging from Tokyo Rainbow Pride to St. Patrick’s Day Parade. After lounging about here, you can either find peace at Meiji Shrine (Jingu) or marvel at cosplayers in Harajuku. Both of which are within walking distance.

Closest Station: Harajuku

Admission: Free

 

Ueno Park

Ueno Park

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Surrounded by a myriad of museums – including the Tokyo National Museum – this spacious park is one of Tokyo’s oldest. Home to Japan’s first art museum and zoo, there is much to see and explore here at Ueno Park.

Closest Station: Ueno

Admission: Free

 

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

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Shinjuku Gyoen, originally owned by Lord Naito of the Edo era, was opened to the public in 1949. To preserve its tranquility, visitors must adhere to a list of strict rules. This includes the banning of alcohol and physical activities such as soccer – making it the ideal place for families or couples to wind down.

For more information, check out our article (Shinjuku Gyoen – An Oasis in Central Tokyo).

Closest Station: Shinjuku-Sanchome/Shinjuku-Gyoemmae

Admission:

  • Adults: 200 yen
  • Elementary and junior high school students: 50 yen 
  • Infants: Free 

 

Inokashira Park

Inokashira Park

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Away from the city center, Inokashira Park is secluded and makes for a great place to relax.

Here’s a mildly interesting old wives’ tale: a swan boat ride with your significant other on the pond will leave both parties heartbroken. 

For more information of the surrounding area, check out Kichijoji, Tokyo – An Area Guide.

Closest Station: Kichijoji

Admission: Free

 

Rinshi No Mori Park

Rinshi No Mori Park

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It’s no surprise that Rinshi No Mori Park was once used for research. Not only are the trees here large but most of them are as old as your great-grandparents. Surrounded by towering trees lies a splashing pond – making it an ideal place to cool off in the summer. With numerous species of birds, Rinshi No Mori Park is also a great place for twitching. Enjoy a lovely stroll amongst the trees while listening to bird songs.

Closest Station: Musashi-Koyama

Admission: Free

 

Showa Memorial Park (Showa Kinen Park)

Showa Memorial Park (Showa Kinen Park)

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Who would have thought that this beautiful park used to be a military installment? There are several gorgeous fountains in the park to complement its surrounding natural beauty. There are rental bikes too if walking isn’t your cup of tea. To change it up, head indoors to the museum that is dedicated to Emperor Showa.

Closest Station: Nishi-Tachikawa 

Admission: 

  • Adults (over 15): 410 yen 
  • Child (6 to 14): 80 yen 
  • Over 65: 210 yen 

 

Komaba Park

Komaba Park

Photo Credit: mrhayata via Flickr cc

This hidden gem of a park is University of Tokyo’s secret – making it a great escape from the hustle and bustle of academia for students and professors alike. Its brilliant green is a great contrast to the brown that is the 1929 western-style house and 1930 Japanese-style house situated here. Due to the lack of popularity, Komaba Park is a great place for just you and your thoughts.

Closest Station: Komaba-Todaimae

Admission: Free

 

Mizumoto Park

Mizumoto Park

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“Green” and “blue” are the perfect words to describe Mizumoto Park. In the midst of poplar and dawn redwood trees is a gigantic river which is home to over 200,000 Japanese irises! 

Closest Station: Kanamachi

Admission: Free

 

Kasai Rinkai Park

Kasai Rinkai Park

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When it comes to Kasai Rinkai park, the word “big” does not do it justice. Since it’s the largest park in Tokyo, there’s no limit to what can be done here. It’s home to an aquarium, bird sanctuary and a Ferris wheel! Additionally, it’s next to the beach – making this seaside park a popular destination for people during spring and summer.

Closest Station: Kasairinkaikoen

Admission: Free

 

Koganei Park

Koganei Park

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Being the second largest park in Tokyo, Koganei Park’s open spaces make it ideal for many physical activities. Due to the abundance of cherry (sakura) trees here, it’s also a popular hanami (flower viewing party) destination.

In the park find the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum which houses many historical buildings. This museum is also said to be a source of inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki when he directed Spirited Away.

Closest Station: Musashi-Koganei 

Admission: Free

 

Hibiya Park

Hibiya Park

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Japan’s first western-style park, Hibiya park has a significant role in Japanese-American relations. Upon presenting America with cherry trees, America presented dogwood trees to Japan in kind.  These trees can be seen littered around the park. In addition to this, in the middle of the park is “Risky Gingko,” a 500 year-old Gingko tree.

Closest Station: Hibiya

Admission: Free

Gardens

Rikugien Garden

Rikugien Garden

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Rikugien Garden was once a samurai’s residence; however, after his passing, the garden was neglected for a period of time. It’s hard to believe that this beautiful garden was once overgrown with weed. Now, after being restored to its former glory, Rikugien Garden attracts many locals and tourists due to it being one of the most beautiful Edo-style gardens.

Closest Station: Komagome

Admission: 

  • Adults: 300 yen 
  • Over 65: 150 yen
  • Primary school children or younger; junior high school students living in Tokyo: Free 

 

Tonogayato Garden

Tonogayato Garden

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You don’t have to travel all the way to Kyoto to see bamboos because Tonogayato Garden boasts an amazing bamboo forest. This garden also has a waterfall and a tea house. Come here to immerse yourself in Japanese culture by sipping on carefully prepared green tea (matcha)!

Closest Station: Kokubunji

Admission:

  • Adults: 150 yen
  • Over 65: 70 yen
  • Primary school children or younger; junior high school students living in Tokyo: Free 

 

Imperial Palace East Gardens

Imperial Palace East Gardens

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Opened to the public in 1968, Imperial Palace East Gardens used to be the emperor’s very own private garden. Now, tourists can roam about here and check out the foundation of a burnt down castle tower. 

Closest Station: Otemachi

Admission: Free

 

Meguro Sky Garden

Meguro Sky Garden

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This rooftop garden was recently built in 2013. Unlike its traditional counterparts, Meguro Sky Garden’s contemporariness serves to balance the old with the new. It boasts an amazing view of Mount Fuji on a clear day.

Closest Station: Ikejiri-Ohashi

Admission: Free

 

Marunouchi

Not only is Marunouchi home to many businesses, but it’s also home to quite a few rooftop gardens. Some of these rooftop gardens have amazing views of Tokyo Station. These gardens often serve as a break from work for salarymen, but anyone is more than welcome to come here to relax. Here are two of the best rooftop gardens Marunouchi has to offer. 

Closest Station: Tokyo

Kitte’s Rooftop Garden

Kitte’s Rooftop Garden

Provided by Foursquare

This garden boasts an amazing view of Tokyo Station.

Address: 6th floor of JP Tower, 2-7-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-7090

Admission: Free 

Marunouchi Oazo’s Rooftop Garden

Marunouchi Oazo’s Rooftop Garden

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While the garden does face a wall, it’s extremely secluded and peaceful.  

Address:  1-6-4 Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0005

Admission: Free

Trails/Hikes

Mount Takao

Mount Takao

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A popular hiking spot amongst locals and tourists, Mount Takao boasts more than two million visitors a year. Mount Takao offers several trails to choose from – ranging from easy to hard difficulty. Mount Takao also has a monkey park. With numerous activities to do, Mount Takao makes for a perfect day trip.

For more information, check out our article (Mount Takao – The Perfect Day Trip From Tokyo). 

Closest Station: Takaosanguchi

Admission: Free

 

Mount Mitake

Mount Mitake

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While not as popular as Mount Takao, Mount Mitake is a popular hiking alternative. It’s situated in Chichibu Tama Kai National Park. After climbing to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of a Shinto shrine.

Closest Station: Mitake 

Admission: Free 

Special Mention

Okutama

Okutama

Photo Credit: Kazuhiro Kimura via Flickr cc

Although not a park, Okutama is a town surrounded by forests, rivers, lakes and mountains. Home to the tallest point in Tokyo, Mount Kumotri is a great hike for anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji. Additionally, this town is also home to the largest lake in Tokyo: Lake Okutama. The water you’re drinking is probably sourced from this lake. Overall, this town makes for a great weekend getaway from the city.  

Closest Station: Okutama

C. Akira

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# Things to Do in Tokyo # Things to Do in Japan

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