Tokyo is a big urban jungle with different districts. It has towering skyscrapers, glitzy shopping centers, a web-like metro network, and a frenetic pace during the day and at night. It’s easy to get caught up in Tokyo’s big city lifestyle, but what set this bustling metropolis apart are the green spaces amid the concrete sprawl. It has many parks where you can slow down, think, or just do nothing while the world around you goes in fast forward. The parks are also great places to visit and chill in during the colorful seasons of autumn and spring.
These are some of the parks and gardens you can visit amid Tokyo’s urban jungle. Include these in your itinerary to mix up the attractions you visit.
A short walk from Harajuku Station, Yoyogi Park is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It has plenty of trees and scenic walking trails to enjoy the views. The location of the park is historic because it was the site where Capt. Tokugawa successfully flew an aircraft in December 1910. Yoyogi is popular with locals; they take leisurely walks, jogs or just hang out here. The park is also a great place to see the autumn leaves.
This park is just a 10 minutes’ walk from Shinjuku Station. This big green space is a great getaway from Tokyo’s frenetic space. It combines east and west garden style to create a unique destination. The park used to be the home of a feudal lord during the Edo epoch. Fast forward to today, it is now a sprawling park with stunning landscapes. Shinjuku Gyoen is a good place to see the cherry blossoms when spring comes around. There is an entrance fee of JPY500.
This huge park is near Ueno Station. It is a great place to spend a couple of hours because of the trails and other attractions in it. The area was previously part of the Kaneiji Temple and was later converted into a Western-style park in the 1870s. Fast forward to today, the park is home to some museums and scenic trails. You can visit the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Ueno Zoo, and the Tokyo National Museum during your visit. The park also has over a thousand cherry trees which make it a popular hanami spot.
Showa Memorial Park
This park is around half an hour away from Tokyo when you take the train. Its area is around 160 hectares big and has plenty of flowers, walking trails, and other plants. You can take strolls here, bring some snacks for a picnic, or read a book. It combines both Western and Japanese garden aesthetics. The park provides a slow and relaxing ambiance that contrasts with Tokyo’s personality. Showa Memorial Park is also an ideal destination to see autumn and spring colors.
Imperial Palace East Gardens
The area of the park used to be part of Edo Castle’s inner line of defense. Fast forward to today, it is now a garden with scenic walking pathways and chill spots. You’ll find a part of the castle tower’s foundation atop a hill. You’ll also find a Japanese garden within the premises. The garden is a short walk from Otemachi or Tokyo Station.
This mountain/park has plenty of beautiful views, scenic trails, and rolling hills. You can take the cable car and from there you can walk to the Musashi-Mitake Shrine. Many believe that the shrine has been a place of worship for many centuries. You have plenty of options on which trail to follow using the shrine as your landmark. Some of which include the Rock Garden, waterfalls, and Mt. Otake’s peak. You’ll find Japanese-style inns in the village because of Mt. Mitake’s popularity as a pilgrimage destination. You can reach this mountain from Shinjuku Station. Board a train bound for Ome, then from there take another train to Mitake Station.
If you’re looking for a hiking and nature fix, this valley is for you. You’ll find this kilometer-long green space in Setagaya Ward. It has an easy trail that takes you through the woods. The walk takes about half an hour to complete with some points of interest along the way. One of the interesting sites in the valley is the Todoroki Fudo Temple. It has a distinct ambiance that is relaxing. The closest station is Todoroki Station.
If you want to get some sort of work out, make your way to Mount Takao. This is more of a natural park than a city park or a garden park, but because of its accessibility from the city center, it’s one of the popular nature tripping destinations in Tokyo. The mountain is the easiest to access from Tokyo. Follow the different trails to reach Takao’s attractions such as a temple, monkey park, and observation decks. You can reach the summit in an hour and a half but it depends on your pace. The trails are scenic and relaxing, no need to hurry. This is also a good place to see the changing colors of autumn.