- History and features
- A springtime paradise
- Summertime greenspace
- Fantastic fall colors
- Winter wonderland
- An urban oasis
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.
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.
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.