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.
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.
Ueno Zoological Gardens, over a 100 years old, contains a multitude of birds, Siberian tigers, monkeys, gorillas, Giant Pandas, giraffes and other animals from all over the world. A monorail links the two separate areas within the zoo, and there is also a children's petting zoo at the southern end. A pagoda-like structure on one end of the park adds some Japanese history into the mix. Neatly combining history and wildlife, this attraction makes for a particularly rewarding experience for children.
While Chiba is not short of beautiful parks, the Makuhari Kaihin Park definitely stands out as one of the best. Surrounded by modern buildings of the city, the park offers much-needed serenity away from all the traffic and bustle. The lush lawns, flower decorations and cobbled pavements will lead the visitors to the side of the park which offers breathtaking ocean views. Perfect for a picnic day, the park is a must-visit.
Opened in 1873 at the top of Ueno Hill, Tokyo's first public park houses several world-class museums, a popular zoo, shrines, temples, a rental boat lake, historical monuments, hundreds of cherry blossom trees, and a lotus pond. Ueno Park, being Tokyo's largest, has so much to offer that a day would not be enough. Whether you come here alone to spend some time in solitude or bring along your family to spend quality time with them, you won’t be disappointed with the umpteen offerings of this gorgeous park.
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.
Visitors to Tokyo shouldn't miss this gorgeous landscaped garden. Originally an imperial garden, Kyu-Shiba-rikyu Gardens was created in 1924 and was named as one of the most beautiful spots in Tokyo. Stroll along the pathway and admire the flowers as well as the prominent garden pond. You can cross one of the four bridges, admire a "waterfall" crafted out of stones, take your children to the playground, or just relax and take in the sunshine. Surrounded by tall building, this bit of nature creates a peaceful oasis in the city.
This small but pretty garden with paths and bridges around a lake is famous because the original lake was tidal and fed by the Sumida River. Walking along the pathways, stone lanterns and a small shrine are half hidden by bushes and trees that thin out to reveal views of the lake. In the early 19th Century, the garden became part of the estate of Yasuda Zenjiro, founder of the Yasuda financial group. The house and garden were given to the city of Tokyo in 1922, but most of the original garden was destroyed the following year in the Great Kanto Earthquake. Sumida Ward has restored the garden and it has been open to the public since 1971. On the first weekend of August the garden hosts a summer evening of traditional Japanese events such as tea ceremonies, musical performances and haiku readings. The garden has a wheelchair route and is closed over the New Year. -AH
In 1922, the Tokyo government was building a park on land it had acquired from the army, but before it could be completed, the Great Kanto Earthquake struck. Local residents fled to the site of the park for safety, but fire spread through the furniture and belongings they brought with them and many people were burned to death. Part of the reason for the deaths was because there was no greenery in the unfinished park. When the park was rebuilt, a Japanese Garden was included providing woods and water to help with fire protection. Yokoamicho Park has become a memorial to these victims of the earthquake and there are now important monuments here including Tokyo Memorial Hall, the Statue of Spirit, Peace Monument to victims of the Great Tokyo Air Raid, and Great Kanto Earthquake Museum. There is also a children's playground, benches and the Japanese garden. Ginkgo and cherry trees are planted in the park. A memorial service is held here every March 10 and September 1. -AH