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A great way to check out Tokyo's imperial palace from all angles is to cycle around it and the Palace Cycling Course provides tourists with this opportunity once every week. Every Sunday, a three-kilometer route is closed off for all vehicles but for cyclists from the Imperial Palace moat, running all the way around it. The picturesque path is filled with heritage features from the palace and flanked by tall trees. You can get your own bike or rent one from the area. As many as 250 bikes are ready to rent at this venue and children as well as adults can take a turn around this circuit.
The Shinjuku Gyo-en blends Western and Eastern influences in its layout with English, French and conventional Japanese gardens. It also features quaint tea ceremony houses and a greenhouse with a considerable collection of tropical plants. It is most famous for its cherry blossom trees, which in early spring paint the whole place with different hues of fluttering pink. It is an ideal place to get some fresh air, relax amidst nature and lift your spirits.
A fine example of Japanese planning and ingenuity, Odaiba is an artificial island located on the Tokyo Bay. The name 'Odaiba' finds its origins in the network of six artificial islands which were built in 1853 by Egawa Hidetatsu to protect the city of Edo, former name of Tokyo, from the American Commodore Matthew Perry, whose fleet of Black Ships posed an imminent threat. In modern times, this island has become a major attraction for leisure and entertainment, withstanding the economic collapse of Japan and other adversities. Today, Odaiba is home to a range of shopping, dining and entertainment destinations, also being home to a replica of the Statue of Liberty, which sits gloriously amid the background of the Rainbow Bridge.
This naturally wooded park adjoins the Meiji Jingu Shrine, and until 1996, it hosted Tokyo's amateur rock and roll bands, who strutted their stuff every Sunday. They have since moved to Omotesando, and Yoyogi Park has become quiet, and ideal for groups of friends and families who like to enjoy a tranquil Sunday afternoon strolling by small ponds filled with koi (Japanese carp). Rental bicycles are available within the grounds during summer.
Just a 15-minute walk from the trendy and youthful town of Kichijoji, this park has enough to keep you interested for a full day. There is a large pond where you can paddle rental boats, a zoo where you can pet some of the caged animals, playground facilities for baseball or Frisbee games with family and friends, and enough space and greenery for an ideal picnic. On weekends the place even comes alive with street musicians and artists. Inokashira Park is also one of the prime locations for viewing the cherry blossoms in late March/early April.