Located in the heart of Tokyo, Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the largest national parks in the city. The park is situated very close to the JR station of Shinjuju, one of the busiest train stations in the world.
Despite being in central location, the park is lined with trees the entire way around and the greenery acts as a sound barrier from most of the city noises beyond.
There are three separate types of gardens located on the premises that include
The first type of garden ‘Japanese Traditional’ is designed with Japanese ponds, small wooden bridges and an overall peaceful atmosphere within. Some great photos can be taken from the middle of the ponds as you cross the bridges to reach the other side.
The second type ‘French Formal’ is surrounded by many different types of flowers, there is a rose garden and neatly trimmed hedging that marks the footpaths around the area.
The final type is the ‘English Landscape’ theme that features some trees and wide-open plan lawns. These large areas of grass are ideal for relaxing and reading a book etc. The large influx of visitors to the park can mean some areas are cordoned off by rope to allow the grass areas to grow and recover from all the human traffic that passes through.
The admission fee to the park is 200 yen (€1.50), which is a bargain in my opinion. It will take you roughly 1.5 hours to explore the grounds fully but this all depends on which gardens you decide to explore and what you want to see in the park itself.
A few teahouses are located on the grounds and you are free to enter and purchase some tea if you wish. There are also vending machines on the grounds incase you get thirsty or hungry and multiple seating areas are also available if sitting on the grass does not appeal to you.
Be sure to bring your camera with you because there are many beautiful plants and flowers to photograph. As I experienced myself, the summer the sun can be very harsh and cause your photos to be heavily overexposed. I would advise visiting the garden in the morning or late afternoon during the summer so that the sun is not too hot and you will be able to get some good photographs.
If you are looking to relax and take a break then this park is a great place to do it. The skyscrapers of Shinjuku can be seen in the distance while you stand in a peaceful, beautiful environment surrounded by nature.
The park is not open on Monday’s (except during cherry blossom season). The opening hours are from 9.30am until 4.30pm, last entry to the park is at 4pm.
How to get there:
To reach the Shinjuku Gate take the "New South Exit" of JR Shinjuku Station and the walk is roughly ten minutes.
The second option is to go to the Okido Gate from Shinjukugyoenmae Station on the Marunouchi Subway Line and this takes roughly 5 minutes to walk.
Alternatively you can reach the Sendagaya Gate from the JR Sendagaya Station on the local Chuo/Sobu Line, also taking 5 minutes.
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