Shinjuku Gyoen through the Seasons

One of the best things about staying at the Tadaima Japan Shinjuku Ryokan is its location in Araki-Cho, Shinjuku. Most of Tokyo’s most popular attractions are a short subway ride away and several more are within walking (or jogging) distance.
Considered by many to be Tokyo’s most beautiful park, Shinjuku Gyoen is a vast, refreshing greenspace that’s only 1.5 kilometers from Araki-Cho. Unlike most parks in Tokyo, there’s a small fee of 200 yen to enter. Don’t let that deter you, though. Shinjuku Gyoen is well worth the investment. Read on to find out why.

2018-05-30   Araki-Cho, Seasonal, Araki-Cho, Tokyo,

Blooming hydrangeas make Shinjuku Gyoen a pleasant place to visit, even during the rainy season.


History and features

What is now known as Shinjuku Gyoen was established in the late 1700s, when it served as the residence of Lord Naito, an Edo-era daimyo (feudal lord). During the Meiji era, the park went through phases as an agricultural experiment center and a botanical garden. The park, as we now know it, was completed in 1906 as an imperial garden. Shortly after World War II, Shinjuku Gyoen was rebuilt and designated as a national garden, open to the public.

In its current state, the 58-hectare park is home to three distinct types of gardens: a French formal garden, an English landscape garden, and a Japanese traditional garden. Shinjuku Gyoen is also dotted with several structures including a traditional tea house, a greenhouse, and a Taiwanese-style pavilion.

A springtime paradise


Cherry blossom season makes spring the most popular time for visiting Shinjuku Gyoen. With countless cherry trees in dozens of varieties, the park enjoys an extended cherry blossom viewing (hanami) period that lasts from mid-March through late April. If you plan to visit the park during this season, arrive early if you hope to beat the crowds of springtime cherry blossom revelers.

Summertime greenspace


During the summer, Shinjuku Gyoen becomes a sea of green and is the perfect place for a relaxing picnic. If you are lucky enough to visit the park on a breezy day, nothing beats spreading out on one of the park’s many vast last lawns and letting the wind cool you off. Losing yourself in the wooded areas of the park is another way to beat Tokyo’s sweltering heat. Don’t forget to take advantage of the teahouse, refreshment stands, and vending machines to stay hydrated!

Fantastic fall colors

Once again, the sheer variety of trees that call Shinjuku Gyoen home make it a superb venue for appreciating autumn colors in Tokyo. Celebrate the demise of summer humidity with a pleasant autumn stroll along the park’s meandering pond-side pathways. Fall colors can be enjoyed from mid-November to mid-December.

Winter wonderland


As cold temperatures grip Tokyo, the park’s once green lawns turn strikingly golden. On winter mornings you can experience the park at its least crowded and appreciate tranquil moments of relaxation and reflection.
If it snows during your visit, you’re in for a treat. Be sure to have a good camera with you as a snow-covered Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the most beautiful things you’ll see in Tokyo, if not Japan.

An urban oasis

The beauty and tranquility of Shinjuku Gyoen makes it a must-see location on any Tokyo traveler’s to-do list. However, it’s also important to note just how convenient this park is. Although you wouldn’t realize it looking from the inside out, Shinjuku Gyoen is surrounded by a dense array of urban convenience and entertainment. The park is only a stone’s throw away from Shinjuku station, Japan’s largest public transit hub. Therefore, no matter the season, there’s no excuse for missing out on this oasis of greenery nestled among Tokyo’s endless urban sprawl.

You might also like

AUTHOR

Anthony

Anthony

Writer / Translator

Originally from Riverside, California, I've been living, working, and writing in Japan since 2009. Japan has become my second home, and I'm especially fond of Shinjuku, Tokyo. That being said, I also love getting out into the countryside and exploring the entire country. Through Tadaima Japan, I hope to share the wonders of Japan with a wider, international audience. Check out my articles if you enjoy exploring on foot, convenient cafes, and affordable dining.

Information

Address 12-4 Arakichō, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to, 160-0007
Hours 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Price 200 yen per person
Close Mondays (if Monday is a public holiday, the park is closed on the following day instead), December 29 – January 3
Access Five-minute walk from Shinjuku-gyoenmae Station (Exit 1) via the Tokyo Metro Marunouichi Line
Phone +81-(0)3-3350-0151
Language Japanese
English
Website https://www.env.go.jp/garden/shinjukugyoen/english/index.html