Rikugi-en Garden

Serene in every season

If you love Japanese gardens, we have to go to Rikugi-en. This gorgeous stroll garden features 88 real-life views from famous poems, and is artfully designed to look different – but stunning – in every season.


In early April, the weeping cherry tree near the entrance draws record crowds of camera-toting visitors, and is even lit up at night. Later that month, azaleas of all colors cover a steep hill just beyond the teahouse, and the round bushes dotting the grounds are ablaze with pink.

This famous cherry tree is also lit up at night until 9:00, for your blossom viewing pleasure.
This famous cherry tree is also lit up at night until 9:00, for your blossom viewing pleasure.

But my personal favorite time to see this garden is in the fall.

Everywhere you look, color.

This garden is so famous for its brilliant autumn leaves and cherry blossoms that special evening hours are added in November and April so people can visit after work. The trees are lit up with spotlights so you can appreciate the colors, even after sundown.

Nice, huh?

During leaf season and cherry blossom season, they often have special food stands set up in the park, selling traditional foods like skewers of roasted mochi (sticky rice cakes) dipped in soy or miso sauce, and tonjiro (a hearty soup made with bacon and vegetables).

If you are with me, I will make you try one of these. And they you will go back for another!
Partway around the lake is a teahouse, where for ¥500 we can get a bowl of mattcha (intense traditional tea ceremony tea) and a lovely bean-paste sweet.

Hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (last admission 16:30)

Open: Every day except 12/29-1/3

Admission: ¥300


The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

 For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

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