Shinjuku Gyoen National Park
Originally, the park's grounds were owned by a noble family of Edo (name of Tokyo during the Edo era). In 1879, the Imperial Household Department took over them, and it became an experimental agricultural center for some years. The current configuration dates back from 1906. It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment of Japan. The beautiful oasis of greenery hosts over a million visitors every year.
Shinjuku Gyoen During Sakura
The park has an impressive area of 58.3 hectares and a circumference of 3.5 km. It has over 20.000 trees, many of which are cherry trees. In late March and early April, the park becomes hugely popular as a picnic spot during the sakura (cherry blossom) viewing season. Alcohol is not permited in the park however.
French, English And Japanese Garden Sections
The park is interestingly divided into 3 distinct section: a French and an English garden in the northern part, and a Japanese traditional Garden in the southern part. In the French section (picutre above), based on the concept of symmetry, the trees were planted in parallel lines.
The Enlish landscape section has wide open spaces.
The most impressive section is perhaps the Japanese traditional garden section in which there is a pond, and the trees are planted and maintained according to the Japanese aesthetic of harmony with nature.
This outstanding pavilion located in the Japanese section of the park is of Taiwanese-style architecture.
The park even has a huge greenhouse section in which many exotique plants can be viewed. This section closes at 15:30.
Tea House Rakuu Tei
A nice spot to stop on your walk through the park is at the Rakuu Tei Japanese traditional tea house. There you can enjoy delicious matcha green tea with a seasonal confectionary in the peaceful setting of a traditional teahouse for less than 1,000 yen. Well worth the experience!
Access, Fees And Opening Hours
The park is easily accessible from the JR Shinjuku Station (10 minute walk from the south exit), Marunouchi Subway Line's Shijuku Gyoen Mae Station (5 minute walk from exit 1), the Fukutoshin Subway Line's Shinjuku Sanchome Station (5 minute walk from exit E5) and the Toei Subway Line's Shinjuku Sanchome Station (5 minute walk from exit C1, C5).
Open: 9:00-16:30 (entrance until 16:00)
Entrance fee: 200 yen, 50 yen for elementary and middle school age children
Once you are done with your visit, make sure to check out the many delicious restaurants around the Shinjuku Station! See link below for more on that!