A masterpiece of landscape gardens in Japan. The cool urban oasis, ”Shinjuku Gyoen”

Above photograph provided by Shinjuku Gyoen

2017-07-09   Destinations, Travel Destinations, Tokyo,

shinjukugyoen

Above photograph provided by Shinjuku Gyoen


【 CONTENTS 】

Let’s go to the parallel world of bustling Shinjuku!

Shinjuku is one of the busiest areas in Japan and has a constant flow of people all day and night. Shinjuku Gyoen, the representative of the modern western-style gardens in the Meiji era, is located in Shinjuku.
When you feel tired of walking in Shinjuku, why not take a rest in this garden with its long history?
I’ll show you the attractions of Shinjuku Gyoen, the oasis in Shinjuku, and a lovely café where you should drop in on your way home from walking in this garden.

Shinjuku Gyoen

The spatial structure is wonderful!

Shinjuku Gyoen has three entrances. I took the Shinjuku Gate closest to Shinjuku Station, South Exit.
No sooner had I got inside, the hustle and bustle of Shinjuku vanished…
It’s just like I am in a quiet and peaceful forest.
It is 58.3 hectares in area with a circumference of 3.5 km and was originally part of the residence of the Naitō family (feudal lord for the Tokugawa shogunate) during the late 16th century.
Shinjuku Gyoen is divided into three garden styles; Japanese Traditional, English Landscape, and French Formal.
Let’s take my route!
*Please note that using toys, sporting equipment, and the like in the garden is prohibited, as is bringing and drinking alcohol.

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Enjoy the garden paths where you can feel the breath of nature from each season

There are many seasonal trees and flowers that are properly cared for along the garden pathways. About 10,000 trees grow here, including Himalayan cedar and platanus, forming an arch of branches from the both sides and providing a sunshade.
Let’s breathe fresh negative ions here!

Shinjuku Gyoen

You can see many birdhouses for wild birds in the trees.

Pollia japonica

Pollia japonica with lovely purple fruits

Agapanthus

Agapanthus with a refreshingly cool color tone

The three garden styles as designed by French landscaper Henri Martine

The French landscaper, Henri Martine, combined three garden styles, according to the concept of agricultural scientist, Fukuda Hayato.

I got to a Japanese Traditional Garden, popular with foreign tourists.
It’s Chisen-kaiyushiki-teien style (池泉回遊式:a stroke-style garden around a large pond).
This garden style is also used for Katsurarikyu (桂離宮:Katsura Imperial Villa) in Kyoto and Kenroku-en (兼六園) in Kanazawa and Rikugien (六義園:Rikugien Gardens) in Tokyo.
When I leisurely walked along the pond, I felt as if I were the Haiku Poet, Basho MATSUO…

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

While walking, I suddenly saw the conspicuous Chinese architecture style on the edge of the pond!
This is Kyu-Goryo-Tei (旧御涼亭:Taiwan Pavilion).
It is a building presented as a gift from the Japanese living in Taiwan to commemorate the wedding of Emperor Showa.
Just like the Japanese name, you can enjoy the waterfront scenery and cool atmosphere here.
Take a look at the Japanese Traditional Garden from this balcony. It’s very nice!

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

Next is the French Formal Garden.
It has magnificent avenues of platanus, which are very popular spots here.
It is arranged symmetrically and is simply overwhelming!
The scenery during summer with new leaves is great, but during autumn with fallen golden leaves and the winter from the last scene of the film “The Third Man,” are much greater!

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

It also has gorgeous colored rose gardens with approximately 500 roses from 110 species between the platanus roads.
I was just in the Japanese Traditional Garden a few minutes ago and felt like I transported to Europe in a single bound.

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

The English Landscape Garden is located just down from the rose gardens. It has a great view with the Shinjuku skyscrapers in the background, over the giant trees (tulip trees, a symbol of this garden, and zelkova-trees).
Lying back on the wide lawn while looking at this scenery is the highlight of the “Urban Oasis”.
If you stretch out and take a deep breath on the lawn, your stress will surely go away!

Shinjuku Gyoen

Let’s go to see the roots of Shinjuku Gyoen!

There is a pond with a mysterious atmosphere close to Okido Gate.
This is “Tamamo Pond”, the roots of Shinjuku Gyoen. Tamamo Pond and its surrounding areas used to be the beautiful garden called “Tamagawa-En”, the premise of Naito’s residence.
It is said that the shapes of the pond and the garden still remain from those days.
A history of over 400 years might still be sleeping on the bottom of this pond…

Shinjuku Gyoen

Shinjuku Gyoen

●Shinjuku Gyoen
Fee:Adults 200yen, Elementary and junior high school students 50yen, Infants Free of charge
Group discount applies to a party of 30 persons or more. No reservations are necessary. (Adults 150yen, Elementary and junior high school students 25yen)

Let’s take a break at a fancy café around Shinjuku Gyoen.

Don’t you want to take a break after you walk around the garden?
There are many fancy and cozy cafes on the street along Shinjuku Gyoen.
My favourite café among them would be “Cafe Restaurant AUREOLE”, close to Okido Gate.

AUREOLE

It’s great location, which is a very short walk from Okido Gate, and has a lovely outside terrace surrounded by green foliage and flowers!

AUREOLE

This café faces out onto Shinjuku Gyoen. You’ll be able to relax, looking at the seasonal trees in Shinjuku Gyoen.
It also has cherry trees on both sides of the cafe and is difficult to get those outside tables during the cherry blossom season.
The inside is of modest size with a warm, wooden interior, much like a lovely antique shop. It’s a typical café where girls want to go!

I will recommend their various kinds pizza. Much like an Italian cafe restaurant, it’s crispy and very tasty!
Why not also, order the Japanese style herbal tea, “The Aureole”?
It is blended with 13 kinds of medicinal herbs (Adlay, brown rice, sweetroot, houttuynia cordata, eucommia leave and etc.) (580yen).
It’s a fragrant tea and good for metabolic detoxification.

AUREOLE

The harmony of the staff is wonderful as always, and the menu has affordable prices.
It’s easy for foreign tourists to order because its menu is written in both Japanese and English.
When you are looking for a place where you can have a tranquil time in the bustle of Shinjuku, try visiting this café!

■Cafe Restaurant AUREOLE
Address: 1-3-12 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
Access: 2 minutes from Shinjuku Gyoen-mae station, toward “Okido Gate” exit
Close: Monday (if a Monday is a national holiday, then the next day)
Hours: 11:30‐15:00 (Mon.-Sat. L.O.14:30, Sun. & holidays L.O.16:30),
17:30‐23:00 (Mon.-Sat. L.O.22:00, Sun. & holidays L.O.21.00)

Map

11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo

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AUTHOR

Waddy

Waddy

writer/ translator

Born and raised in Tokyo. A legitimate “Edokko” or Tokyoite. I love wandering and experiencing unusual things. Japan is where I was born and raised, but it’s still full of mystery to me. I’d like to share some of my endeavors with you.

Information

Address 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo
Hours 9:00-16:00(Gates close at 16:30)
Close Mondays (If Monday is a public holiday, then closed the following day. Closed the day (weekday) after in case of consecutive holidays.) and the year end and the New Year holidays(December 29- January 3) Special Open Days: The garden is open throughout the following periods; March 25 to April 24, and November 1 to November 15
Access 10 min walk from South exit “Shinjuku” station/ 3 min walk from Subway Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line “Shinjuku Gyoemmae” station
Phone 03-3350-0151
Website http://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/ http://fng.or.jp/shinjuku/ ※Japanese only