When you think of Tokyo, what do you imagine? Do you imagine a bustling city, congested streets, and towering skyscrapers? If you did, you aren’t wrong, but there is also beautiful scenery and lots of nature to add to that list. In fact, right next to the busiest station in the world, you will find Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Only a short walk from the South exit of Shinjuku Station will put you at the gates of the garden.
The garden existed before America became a country. The land that the garden sits on was gifted by the Shogun to a Damimyo (feudal lord) in 1772. In 1906, the garden as we know it today was completed. Although in 1945, most of the garden were destroyed by air raids, later the garden were rebuilt after the conclusion of the war. On May 21st, 1949, the garden opened to the public and in 2001, the name of the garden officially became Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.
Shinjuku Gyoen has a circumference of 3.5 kilometers. The garden is separated into there sections featuring a French style, an English style, and a traditional Japanese style. On the park grounds, there is even a traditional Japanese tea house. With more than 20,000 trees differing in size and species, you can enjoy the unique and majestic sceneries.
Within the 20,000 trees, there are about 1,500 cherry blossoms during the Spring, guests are treated to a spectacular pink backdrop. Among the 1,500 cherry blossoms there are over 60 different kinds. Even if you don’t get to see the cherry blossoms in the spring, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is beautiful anytime of the year. In summer the garden is rich and lush, families, couples, and tourists creating a lively atmosphere. In autumn when the leaves change colors, you are treated to another great sight. Finally in winter, a snow covered Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden will let you experience peace and quietness like you have never experienced before.
Photo Credit:cMakoto Shinkai / CoMix Wave Films
The director of the hit animated film, “Your Name” (2016) also directed another animated film called “The Garden of Words” (2013). This drama and romance film features Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden in different seasons and shows off the beauty of the park even on a rainy day. The movie is about a young boy who often skips school on rainy days. On one particular day, he meets a 27 year old woman who is also neglecting her responsibilities. From there, this unlikely encounter starts a curious relationship between an aspiring dreamer and a misfit.
Whether you are looking to see historical places or just trying to get a break from a busy city, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is a must see while in Toyko. The rich history, unique design, and ever changing atmosphere makes it one of a kind. Don’t worry about what season it is because the garden is always beautiful.
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Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
Address: 11 Naitomachi, Shinjuku ward, Tokyo
Access: 10 minute walk from Shinjuku Station South Exit
Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
200 yen (Adults)
50 yen (Children)
Website: Shinjuku Gyoen National Park