Urban Oasis! 6 Best Japanese Gardens in Tokyo
There must be many people linking Tokyo with an image of a metropolitan. Gardens are oasis in a such big city. We will tell you about some of the Tokyo gardens where you can enjoy Japanese natural scenery expressed through pond, stones, grass and flowers.
1. Gyokudo Art Museum
At Gyokudo Art Museum, you can appreciate art and the garden. Their garden is a "Karesansui" style (a garden style that simulates the look of water and mountains using only stones and sand) , which is rare in the Tokyo area. While here, you may find simple and elegant lines of stones and beautiful ripple marks that are sacred in some ways. If you listen to it very carefully, you will hear the sounds of water running through the nearby Tama river and you will feel embraced by nature. After enjoying a quiet time in the garden, we recommend checking out the art by Gyokudo Kawai, one of the greatest Japanese artists.
2. Kiyosumi Gardens
The "strolling-style" theme of Kiyosumi gardens is centered around "Sensui (water fountains and ponds in a garden), "Chiku-zan (artificially made hills) and "Karesansui". There are many viewpoints in this gardens including "Isowatari", a walk on stepping stone pathways made at the edges of the pond, "Chiku-zan", a large hill that simulates Mt. Fuji as well as monument stones with poems by Basyo Matsuo engraved. Since this is also a popular destination for many wild birds, you will get to enjoy bird watching in each season as well.
3. Koishikawa Korakuen
Koishikawa Korakuen has been given double designation; as an important historical asset and also as a site of special historical significance. This is "stroll-style" gardens featuring a central pond, and they are heavily influenced by the Chinese culture. In the gardens, therefore, you will see many viewpoints named after famous Chinese sites. Some of their distinctive features are "Daisensui", the pond in which people used to play in boats, "Engetsu-kyo", the bridge in the pond that produces a full circle with a look of a full moon, and "Sho-Rozan", the hill from which top you can overlook the whole gardens. The weeping cherry tree, which is estimated to be over 60 years old, is also remarkable. There are also various events held in the gardens including "Taue" (rice planting) in May and "Inekari" (rice cropping) in September.
Rikugien is "stroll-style" gardens. A dynamic appearance of the weeping cherry tree that you will see right after going through the central garden gate simulates a water fall when it's in bloom in spring. Some of the gardens' distinctive features are "Tsutsuji Cha-ya (a tea house)" made with old azalea trees, "Takimi Cha-ya", from which point you get to overlook a quiet scenery and a waterfall, and "Togetsu-kyo (a stone bridge)", which was made with large slabs of stone. At "Rikugien Fukiage Cha-ya", you can enjoy matcha (powdered green tea) and also jonamagashi (superb quality confectionaries offered in tea ceremonies).
5. Kyu-Yasuda Gardens
Kyu-Yasuda Gardens were once constructed as a stroll-style garden with water pulled from the Sumida river. From the gardens, you can see the Tokyo Sky Tree. This garden, a combination of good-and-old flavors of Japanese gardens and stylish architectures of modern Japan, is a perfect photo spot in Tokyo. "Ryogoku Kokaido" has been a symbolic icon of the garden, though it has been decided to be taken down. They are open for public for free, so you may be able to enjoy some casual interactions with local neighbors taking walks with their dogs.
6. Happo Gardens
The gardens with restaurants and wedding halls. It's open for those using one of these facilities. The name "happo" refers to "a place so beautiful from every direction". Here you can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring, green leaves in summer, colorful leaves in fall and snowy scenery in winter. In this garden, a "Japanese Culture Experience Tour (for over 30 people, 9,200 JPY with tax/person), and also a "Garden Walk with an English interpreter (starting at 8,640 JPY with tax)" are available too. On top of the gardens, please do check out the indoor arrangements and interiors designed with "OMOTENASHI (hospitality)" in mind utilizing Japanese traditions and culture.
How did you like them? Japanese gardens that are combination of nature and tradition offer different flavors in different seasons. Please do enjoy their beauty along with Japanese four seasons.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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