The most beautiful gardens in Tokyo

ARISUGAWA PARK

4Arisugawa

A delightful undiscovered park in a part of town more known for its nightlife and swanky living

A wonderful place to stroll before eating, drinking & clubbing in Roppongi, Nakameguro or Ebisu • Lovely and uncrowded in every season • Especially good in mid-late Feb (plum blossoms) & mid-late Nov (autumn leaves)

Directions & map

DENPO-IN SECRET GARDEN at Senso-ji Temple

4Denpoin

Open only a few times a year, this secret garden in the middle of Senso-ji temple in Asakusa is usually reserved for priestly meditation

Amazing view of the Senso-ji pagoda, reflected in two different pools • Open during cherry blossom season for viewing the two famous weeping cherry trees • Entry is through a museum featuring rare giant prayer plaques • Especially good in late-Mar to early Apr (cherry blossoms), late-Apr to early-May (wisteria) & mid-late Nov (autumn leaves)

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Directions & map

HAMA-RIKYU TEI-EN GARDEN

4HamaRikyu

Sweeping vistas and a large pond with several bridges make for dramatic landscapes • A favorite spot for wedding photos • Especially good in mid-late Feb (plum blossoms), late-Mar to early Apr (cherry blossoms), late-Apr to early-May (wisteria & peonies), mid-late Sep (cosmos) & mid-late Nov (autumn leaves)

Directions & maps

KIYOSUMI GARDEN

4KiyosumiShirakawa

A walk around this garden’s giant pond delivers gorgeous views with every step

Spectacular use of stepping stones • This garden is known for its rocks and trees rather than its flowers, so it’s lovely at all times of year

Directions & map

KORAKU-EN GARDEN

4korakuen

In this beautiful garden, you’ll forget you’re in the middle of the world’s largest city

Lots of bridges and ponds • Walk through many styles of gardens, each more beautiful than the last • Especially good in mid-late Feb (plum blossoms), late-Mar to early Apr (cherry blossoms), late-Apr to early-May (wisteria & peonies), late Sep (native red amaryllis), mid-late Nov (autumn leaves) & if it snows

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Directions & maps

KYU-SHIBA-RIKYU GARDEN

4ShibaRikyu

This formal stroll garden is a secret surprise amid the skyscrapers of Shimbashi

Large pond reflects meticulously pruned pine trees • Late-blooming double cherries reach their peak along with the azaleas, giving late-April visitors an extra treat • This garden is so undiscovered, you will probably have the place to yourself • Especially good in early-mid Apr (cherry blossoms), mid-late Apr (azaleas), late-Apr to early-May (wisteria & peonies), late Sep (native red amaryllis), mid-late Nov (autumn leaves) & if it snows

Directions & map

MUKOJIMA HYAKKA-EN BOTANICAL GARDEN

4Mukojima

This is not an especially scenic garden but it’s full of fascinating Japanese specimens you won’t see anywhere else. 

Bush clover tunnel is well worth seeing in late September – early October • Plants mentioned in haiku and literature are well represented • Has some really strange plants you won’t see anywhere else

Directions & map

NAI-EN GARDEN at the Meiji shrine

4Naien

The Emperor and Empress Meiji’s garden, beautiful any time of year

Famous iris gardens • I saw a live tanuki (raccoon dog) here in May!

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Directions & maps

NI-NO-MARU IMPERIAL GARDEN

4Ninomaru

This tiny gem is inside the Imperial Palace moat, and most people don’t realize it’s one of the most incredible places to see azaleas in all of Japan

Features blooming cherries, wisteria, and iris, but it’s the azaleas that will take your breath away • This small garden is more beautiful than the Imperial Palace East Garden, and a shorter walk from the entrance • Especially good in late-Mar to early-Apr (cherry blossoms), mid-late Apr (azaleas), late-Apr to early-May (wisteria & peonies), & mid-late Nov (autumn leaves)

Directions & map

NISHIARAI DAISHI TEMPLE GARDENS

4.NishiaraiGarden

Two famous peony gardens: the tree peonies bloom from mid-late April, and the fragrant herbacious peonies bloom from late-April to mid-May • There are also several small strolling gardens with nice bridges & waterfalls

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Directions & map

OKURAYAMA PARK

4.Okurayama

Famous for plum blossoms in mid-late February • Well worth the trip!

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Map

RIKUGI-EN GARDEN

4Rikugien

17th century garden designed around 88 views from famous waka poems.

Large pond • Teahouse • Open at night and lit up during cherry blossom and autumn leaf seasons • Stand selling miso dango in autumn and winter • Especially good in mid-late Feb (plum blossoms), late-Mar to early Apr (cherry blossoms), mid-late Apr (azaleas), late-Apr to early-May (wisteria & peonies), late Sep (native red amaryllis), mid-late Nov (autumn leaves) & if it snows

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Directions & maps

SHINJUKU GYOU-EN GARDEN

4ShinjukuGyouen

Vast garden with sweeping landscapes that are spectacular in every season

There is a snack bar and you can picnic in the gardens • Especially good in mid-late Feb (plum blossoms), late-Mar to early Apr (cherry blossoms), mid-late Apr (azaleas), early-mid Nov (chrysanthemums), mid-late Nov (autumn leaves) & if it snows

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Directions & maps

SHOWA-KINEN PARK

4ShowaKinen

Less than forty minutes by train from Shinjuku Station, this huge park has it all, and is amazing in every season!

Promenade of gingko trees with a beautiful fountain • Lovely Japanese garden • Excellent playgrounds for kids • Giant lawns for picknicking & large dedicated BBQ area • Miles of bike trails • Boats • Especially good in mid-Sep to mid-Oct (cosmos) & mid-late Nov (autumn leaves)

Directions & map

SEASONAL EXTRAVAGANZAS

Seasonal

To find out what’s blooming every month of the year, check out the #seasonal extravaganzas page!

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series. And guess what? The first book is finally out in PAPERBACK!

NIGHTSHADE Book Trailer (0:52)

Read more…

More Nightshade book goodness here, in case you think you might want to, you know, read it or something


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