An expansive oasis of gardens once reserved for royalty
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a picturesque and serene escape from the bustling cityscape of Tokyo. It holds a rich history, having once been a feudal lord’s private domain and later transformed into the imperial garden for the imperial family, nobles, and invited guests. While Tokyo offers other green spaces such as Yoyogi Park, the Imperial Palace, and various temples and shrines, none of them can compare to the grandeur and beauty of Shinjuku Gyoen, which spans a massive 144 acres and remains one of the top attractions in Tokyo.
Don’t Miss: The three distinct styles of gardens
One of the highlights of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is its three distinct styles of gardens. The first is the French-style formal area, known for its romantic ambiance and abundance of flowers, particularly roses. This section of the garden is especially popular during spring when the flowers are in full bloom. It also offers a stunning display of trees changing colors during the autumn season. The second style is the English-style garden, featuring vast open lawns surrounded by beautiful flowering cherry trees. Lastly, the Japanese garden is an integral part of the garden’s origins, with large ponds adorned with islands and bridges. The well-maintained shrubs and trees surrounding the water, along with a tea-house and pavilion, create a serene and traditional Japanese atmosphere. While all three gardens are beautiful year-round, they truly come alive during the spring and fall seasons.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden has a rich history dating back to the Edo era. It was originally built as the private residence of Lord Naito, a feudal lord during that time. In 1906, the garden was converted into a private imperial garden by the Meiji government. However, during World War II, the garden was destroyed in air raids. It was later restored and opened to the public. Despite its public status, the garden still maintains its association with the Imperial Family. In fact, the Showa Emperor considered Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden such an important part of his childhood that his funeral was held here as an official state ceremony in 1989.
Cherry blossom season
One of the most enchanting times to visit Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is during the cherry blossom season, known as sakura season. Approximately 1,000 cherry trees grace the garden with their delicate pink blooms, creating a breathtaking sight. Many locals and tourists flock to the garden during this time to participate in hanami, the traditional Japanese custom of viewing and celebrating the cherry blossoms. It is a popular spot for picnics and gatherings, although alcohol consumption is prohibited in the garden. This makes it an ideal choice for families with children who want to enjoy the beauty of the cherry blossoms in a serene and child-friendly environment.
More to see and do
Aside from the stunning gardens, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden offers several other attractions worth exploring. One of them is the Taiwan Pavilion, an authentic Chinese structure built to commemorate the wedding of Emperor Showa Hirohito. It was funded by Japanese residents living in Taiwan at the time. Another highlight is the greenhouse, which resembles an indoor jungle. This botanical garden houses a variety of plant species, including orchids, exotic plants from the subtropics, endangered plants, large trees, ponds, and waterfalls. It is divided into sections showcasing different types of flora, such as the jungle, pond, and tropical areas. The greenhouse is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and those seeking a unique and immersive experience.
Recreate anime scenes
Fans of anime will be delighted to know that Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden has been featured in the 2013 film “The Garden of Words” by renowned director Makoto Shinkai. The film pays homage to the garden’s beauty and serves as a visual tribute to preserve it in the event of a natural disaster. Many scenes in the film were based on Shinkai’s own photographs of the garden. One particular pavilion in the park plays a significant role in the storyline, making it a popular spot for anime fans to recreate scenes and capture memorable photos. However, it is important to note that no alcoholic beverages or play equipment are allowed in the garden, so visitors should respect the rules and guidelines set by the management.
How to Get There
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is easily accessible by foot from various stations in the Shinjuku area. Visitors can reach the garden on foot from Shinjuku Station, Sendagaya Station, or Shinjuku Gyoenmae Station. The Southeast Exit of Shinjuku Station is the closest to the garden, and it takes approximately 10 minutes to reach the entrance on foot. The garden’s central location makes it a convenient destination for both locals and tourists alike.
In conclusion, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a tranquil haven in the heart of Tokyo, offering visitors a chance to escape the city’s concrete jungle and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. With its three distinct styles of gardens, including the romantic French-style area, the picturesque English-style garden, and the traditional Japanese garden, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether it’s during the cherry blossom season when the garden is adorned with delicate pink blooms or any other time of the year, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and those seeking a peaceful retreat in the midst of a bustling city.
Address And Maps Location:
11 Naito-machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo-to