Located near Shimbashi Station in central Tokyo, the Hamarikyu Gardens offer a chance to take a stroll through old trees and beautiful seasonal flowers. Don't leave the gardens without stopping in for some matcha and seasonal wagashi at the island tea house!
Open to the public since 1946, The sprawling Hamarikyu Gardens are built around a tidal pond that is connected to Edo bay. Until the Meiji restoration in 1868, the gardens belonged to the famous Tokugawa family, and were used as a palace and duck hunting grounds. This garden is a pristine example of a large Edo period garden, and shouldn't be missed if you're close by.
Overhead view of the gardens
Things to See in the Gardens
Seasonal Flowers and Trees
One of the great design aspects of Hamarikyu is that there are always flower varieties blooming throughout the garden, regardless of the season. Granted, winter is probably the blandest time to visit, but even then you will still be able to see some blossoms. For a full list of blooming varieties for each season, see the link to the official English website at the end of this article.
300 Year Old Pine Tree
This incredible, sprawling tree was planted when the gardens were renovated more than 300 years ago. It is a very rare sight to see such an old tree in Tokyo.
The weight of the branches is supported by many long wooden poles
Reconstructed Old Japanese Buildings
There are a couple of reconstructed buildings that give you an idea of what the buildings in the garden in the Edo period would have actually been like. They are free to enter and check out.
Views of the Bay
There are many benches next to the water where you can relax and enjoy the smell of sea water while gazing at the skyscrapers across the way.
Things to Do in the Gardens
Drink Matcha in the Middle of the Pond
Head to the beautiful green-roofed tea house in the center of the pond to enjoy some authentic matcha paired with a traditional Japanese sweet. The fee is ¥500 for matcha and a standard Japanese sweet, or ¥700 for matcha and a seasonal Japanese sweet that will match the blooming flowers of the season. Don't forget to take off your shoes when you enter!
Cross this bridge to the teahouse, where you'll be greeted by the friendly, kimono-wearing staff
If you can grab a seat outside, the view is spectacular
Catch the Water Bus to Asakusa
At one end of the gardens is a terminal for the water bus operated by Tokyo Cruise. Once you've seen the garden, this is a scenic and fun way to get to Asakusa, where you can see many more sights that are probably already on your list of things to see. Alternatively, you could depart from Asakusa and enter the gardens from the water bus terminal. The water bus runs from 10:30 to 16:15 at intervals of 20 to 45 minutes. The fare is ¥800 for adults, ¥400 for under 12's.