Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿 御苑) is a so-called national garden but is actually one of the largest parks in Tokyo. Parks are otherwise highly valued places in Tokyo because visitors can distance themselves from the hectic life of the most populous city in the world. In the spring, Shinjuku Gyoen becomes one of the best places in the city to see cherry blossoms - a scene you’ve certainly seen in numerous Hollywood productions when the action takes place in Japan.
In his will, the shogun left this land to Lord Naitō in the Edo period. Naitou completed the garden in 1772. The park and the whole area have gone through different periods throughout history, so the park was also used as an experimental agricultural center. The imperial garden was established in 1879, when the imperial family started to use it as a place for recreation and entertainment. The park got its present appearance in 1906. When Japan was bombed in 1945, the garden was severely damaged, but was rebuilt soon after the war, more precisely in 1949, when it was officially turned into a public park.
Shinjuku Gyoen consists of three different types of gardens. The most important is certainly the Japanese garden, which is characterized by fishponds, dotted with bridges and islands. The park also houses the Taiwan Pavilion, which was built for the wedding of Emperor Show. An exhibition of chrysanthemums is being organized in this part of the park for the first two weeks of November. Even tough the exhibition is named like that, you can see different types of flowers on it, and it's a real pleasure to visit this exhibition.
English gardens as well as French gardens stand out in the garden. The rest of the park consists of wooded areas, lawns and several buildings. There is a picture gallery in the garden, as well as a restaurant. A special greenhouse stores tropical plant species that cannot survive in outdoor conditions. There are over 400 cherry trees in the English garden, which are really amazing when they blossom, so make sure to visit the park in late March or early April.
Ticket price for the Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens
Regular ticket price: 500 ¥
Working hours Shinjuku Gyoen Gardens
From 15th. March to 30th June and from 21. August to 30 September from 07:00h to 18:00h
From 1st of July to 20th August – from 7:00h to 19:00h
From 1st October to 14th March from 07:00h to 16:30h
Keep in mind that during the cherry blossom season, the park is open every day, otherwise it is closed on Mondays.