|Address:||11 Naitomachi Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0014 [map]|
277 m from Shinjuku-sanchōme Station
302 m from Shinjuku-gyoenmae Station
0.7 km from Yoyogi Station
|Hours:||9am-4pm (Closed Mondays)|
Slap bang in the middle of central Tokyo lies Shinjuku Gyoen, and it’s so different to the jam-packed surrounding streets that it’s almost as if you’ve stepped out of the city and into some older, more peaceful realm as soon as you pass through the turnstiles. There has been a garden here since the Edo period; the current garden’s layout dates from 1906, with extensive rebuilding taking place after WWII.
For landscaping fans, there’s a sizable tropical greenhouse, a Thai Pavilion, seasonal chrysanthemum displays, and four styles of garden (French Formal, English Landscape and Japanese Traditional), as well as vast informal areas to explore. The park is also home to massive (no, seriously: massive) Himalayan cedars, a plane-tree avenue, ginkgos aplenty (worth making a special trip to see in autumn), a cypress grove, many red and black Japanese pines. Two lakes linked by a small river form a peaceful center to the park, overlooked by a restored Imperial Rest House.
Pay the small entrance fee, relax on the lawns, or wander the miles of snaking paths. In sakura season the park’s 1500 cherry trees explode in drifts of soft pink cherry blossoms, and it becomes a popular viewing spot. Visitors in November can also check out the park’s lone late-flowering cherry.
If you get hungry from all the walking around, here are 5 sushi restaurants in the Shinjuku area.
Access: 10 minutes Shinjuku Station (New South Exit), 5 minutes from Shinjukugyoenmae or 5 minutes from Sendagaya Station.