Shinjuku Gyoen is a must visit park in the centre of Tokyo.
It spans 143 acres and is home to diverse garden areas, grassy expanses and a greenhouse.
If you find yourself worn out by the hustle and bustle of the Tokyo lifestyle, Shinjuku Gyoen is the perfect place to take a break from the chaos and to relax in the tranquil and stunning surroundings of the park.
Shinjuku Gyoen is a park rich in history. On May 21, 1949, the park became open to the public as a national park. The land was completed in 1772, and was originally the site of a private mansion belonging to Lord Naito, a feudal lord of the Edo era (1603-1867). After the Meiji restoration, the house and its grounds were converted into an experimental agricultural centre, becoming an imperial garden in the year 1879. Most of the garden however, was destroyed by air raids during World War 2 and was subsequently rebuilt into the luxurious and serene gardens that we can see there today.
Being situated in the heart of Tokyo the park is extremely easy to access, whether by train or by foot. There are three gates through which the park can be accessed; the Shinjuku gate, the Okido Gate and the Sendagaya gate. The closest stations to access the park are Shinjuku Station (closest to the Shinjuku Gate), Yoyogi Station (closest to the Shinjuku and Sendagaya gate), Sendagya Station (closest to the Sendagaya Gate) and the Shinjuku Gyoenmae Station, which is situated inbetween the Shinjuku and Okido gate.
The Park costs a maximum of 200 Yen for adults and is open from 9:00 am in the morning until 16:00 pm, with the gates closing at 16:30 pm.
The 143 acre park is made up of three distinct styles of garden; Japanese, English and French.
The Japanese garden features many ponds, bridges and walkways to little secluded islands, and various pavilions in which one may sit and relax in for a while. The English garden features a wide expanse of open lawn, where many people choose to sit with picnics and enjoy the sunshine. The French Garden, much like the many parks found in the French capital of Paris, is very formal, with straight lines and symmetrical design, with long avenues of trees whereby people may sit on a bench and enjoy the shade.
There is also a greenhouse situated in the northern part of the park, with many tropical plants and flowers in.
During late March to early April, more than 400 somei yoshino (cherry blossom trees) blossom around the English garden. It is therefore a fantastic spot to see the cherry blossoms whilst being in the country’s capital. Even if you miss the cherry blossom season, the park is a fantastic place to go to the whole year round. It is a beautiful place to go to during Autumn as the leaves are changing, and is also a wonderful place to go in the summer to enjoy the summer sunshine and heat.
The park also has two tea houses, Rakuu-Tei and Shouten-Tei situated in the Japanese traditional garden. Rakuu-Tei, the main tea house was built in 1987. Here you can enjoy powdered green tea with seasonal Japanese sweets. There is also a restaurant situated in the park and many rest houses dotted all around the park.
Shinjuku Gyoen park is the perfect place to go to shake off any of the stresses that come with living in the chaotic and busy city of Tokyo. It may just be for an hour walk under the autumn leaves, or for a full day sat under a tree reading your favourite novel in the summer sunshine, the park is a serene wonder in the heart of Tokyo and should not be missed out on.