[Complete Guide to Shinjuku Gyoen] Sightseeing, Dining, Access Info, and More!
Shinjuku Gyoen is an oasis in the heart of Tokyo. You can experience nature despite being in the city, and just forget about the time and spend it leisurely. There are so many ways to pass the time here, like seeing the stunning Japanese Traditional Garden or the historical architecture. Read on to find out about the best parts of Shinjuku Gyoen so you can get the most out of your trip.
- About Shinjuku Gyoen
- Have a Picnic on the Lawn of the English Landscape Garden
- See Gorgeous Roses in the French Formal Garden
- Encounter Creatures in the Mother and Child’s Forest
- See Unique European-style Wooden Architecture at the 120-Year-old Former European-style Residence
- Catch Pokemon as You Walk Around the Park
- Enjoy Matcha and Wagashi at Tea House Rakuu-tei
- Enjoy Cherry Blossoms in the Spring
- Visit the Setting of the Film “The Garden of Words”
- View Tropical Plants from All Over the World in the Large Greenhouse
- See the Autumn Leaves Reflected on the Pond in the Japanese Traditional Garden
- Have Lunch at Restaurant Yuri-no-ki While Looking Out at the English Landscape Garden
- Get Photos of the Japanese Traditional Garden from the Old Pavilion, a Unique Chinese-style Building
- Get Energy from the Giant Yurinoki Trees
- Buy Original Shinjuku Gyoen Souvenirs at the Gift Shop
- Get a Panoramic View of the Japanese Traditional Garden at Tea House Shoten-tei
- Experience Japanese Culture Around Tamamo Pond in the Samurai Residence Site
- Get a Photo of Flower Blossoms Blooming in the Background
- Get a Photo of the Line of Plane Trees That Look Like They're Straight Out of a Movie Scene
- Have Lunch at Cafe La Boheme, Known for the Film “Your Name”
- Feel the Nostalgia of the Gatehouse Architecture
- Eat Sweets at Cafe Hana-no-ki
About Shinjuku Gyoen
History of Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen was created in 1906 on the ruins of the Naito family mansion, who were the feudal lords of the Shinshu Takato Domain (who ruled modern-day Ina City in Nagano Prefecture) during the Edo period (1603 - 1868). It was turned into a garden for the Imperial family, and following World War II, it was opened up as a public park for common people to enjoy. Nowadays, Shinjuku Gyoen has become known as a great place to relax and people visit from all over the world, not just Japan.
How to Get to Shinjuku Gyoen
There are three gates that lead into Shinjuku Gyoen.
Around a 10-minute walk from the South Exit of Shinjuku Station on the JR, Keio, and Odakyu Lines
Around a 15-minute walk from Seibu-Shinjuku Station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line
Around a 5-minute walk from Exit 1 of Shinjuku-gyoenmae Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line
Around a 5-minute walk from Exit E5 of Shinjuku-sanchome Station on the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line
Around a 5-minute walk from Exit C1/C5 of Shinjuku-sanchome Station on the Toei Shinjuku Line
Around a 5-minute walk from Exit 2 of Shinjuku-gyoenmae Station on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line
Around a 5-minute walk from Sendagaya Station on the JR Sobu Line Around a 10-minute walk from Exit 1 of Kita-sando Station on the Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line
Around a 5-minute walk from Exit A5 of Kokuritsu-kyogijo Station on the Toei Oedo Line
▼Park entry fee
Regular: 500 JPY
65 & over: 250 JPY
Students (high school & over): 250 JPY
May vary depending on the time of year. Please check the official homepage.
Have a Picnic on the Lawn of the English Landscape Garden
Pass the time as you please on the vast green expanse known as the English Landscape Garden. Time passes slowly here and you’ll completely forget that you're in a major city. During holidays, the English Landscape Garden has quite a turnout of people looking to hold picnics. Why not grab some takeout from somewhere nearby and enjoy it on the lawn?
See Gorgeous Roses in the French Formal Garden
The French Formal Garden boasts 500 stunning rose bushes of 110 varieties. Despite being in Japan, it has a very European vibe. Soak in the romantic view spread out before you as you enjoy a leisurely stroll.
Encounter Creatures in the Mother and Child’s Forest
The Mother and Child’s Forest was created in 1985 in the hopes to bring children in Tokyo closer to nature. This area was created with the expectation that by encountering all kinds of plants and creatures that inhabit nature, such as insects, their awareness and concern for nature would deepen. You’ll make all kinds of discoveries here aside from getting to enjoy the beauty of nature.
See Unique European-style Wooden Architecture at the 120-Year-old Former European-style Residence
The Former European-style Residence was constructed as the residence for the Emperor and Imperial Family in 1896. The building has a history of more than 120 years and has been listed as an Important Cultural Property of Japan. It’s opened specially for the public twice a month (the 2nd & 4th Saturday of the month only) from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The opening days may also change so be sure to check the official homepage before you visit. Come and feel the passage of time at the Former European-style Residence where the Emperor and his family once rested.
Catch Pokemon as You Walk Around the Park
Pokemon GO is an internationally popular game. Shinjuku Gyoen is actually like a holy land for Pokemon GO players as there are so many Pokestops and gyms here. The most beloved Pokemon, Pikachu, appears frequently here, as do many others, so players won't become bored with a visit to the park. You can also get plenty of items because of all the Pokestops. Go catch some Pokemon, but stay aware of your surroundings!
Enjoy Matcha and Wagashi at Tea House Rakuu-tei
Rakuu-tei is a tea house located inside the Japanese Traditional Garden of Shinjuku Gyoen. This is an authentic Japanese tea house that was built in 1987. The scent of trees puts your mind at ease inside the tea house, and you can see the beautiful Japanese Traditional Garden from inside as well. Tasting matcha (powdered green tea) in this calming atmosphere is something special. A cup costs 700 JPY and comes with seasonal wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets). Come to Rakuu-tei for a genuine experience of Japanese tradition and culture.
Enjoy Cherry Blossoms in the Spring
Once you set foot in Shinjuku Gyoen, you enter a world of green that will make you completely forget you’re in a city. However, this is right in the heart of Tokyo. In between the trees you can still get a view of the tall buildings that are a symbol of Tokyo. The contrast of these buildings with nature offers a fresh view of Tokyo. In spring the cherry blossoms bloom so you can enjoy an even more beautiful scene. Springtime in Shinjuku Gyoen is a must-see.
Visit the Setting of the Film “The Garden of Words”
The director Makoto Shinkai suddenly became known internationally with the film “Your Name.” Shinjuku Gyoen is the setting for one of Makoto Shinkai’s other works, “The Garden of Words.” Azumaya, which is near the old pavilion in the Japanese Traditional Garden, appears in one scene of the film. From Azumaya you can see the gorgeous Japanese Traditional Garden and the old pavilion. This is a spot visited by the fans of Makoto Shinkai. Wouldn't it be great to see flowers blooming like in the film?
View Tropical Plants from All Over the World in the Large Greenhouse
At Shinjuku Gyoen, you won’t just see nature from Tokyo, you can see nature from all over the world. Nearly 2,700 varieties of plants thrive in the Large Greenhouse, including plants from Japan and others from overseas. You can even see endangered plants here. This is a spot that you can enjoy freely even when it’s raining. Visitors to the park are free to enter the Large Greenhouse. If you visit Shinjuku Gyoen, this is a spot you should definitely see.
See the Autumn Leaves Reflected on the Pond in the Japanese Traditional Garden
You have to see the leaves change color in fall at Shinjuku Gyoen. Your mind will be at ease in this scenery that interweaves the stunning autumn leaves and the pond of the Japanese Traditional Garden. One of the attractions of Shinjuku Gyoen is the changing scenery as the seasons change. Find a spot where the autumn leaves are reflected on the surface of the water and take some amazing photos here.
Have Lunch at Restaurant Yuri-no-ki While Looking Out at the English Landscape Garden
At Restaurant Yuri-no-ki in the English Landscape Garden, you can enjoy a meal while looking at the beautiful Japanese garden. The restaurant seats up to 120 people so there’s plenty of space to leisurely enjoy your lunch, and their dishes are top quality. You can try spectacular foods you can only eat here that use ingredients connected with Shinjuku Gyoen. If you’re having lunch at Shinjuku Gyoen, definitely come to this restaurant!
Get Photos of the Japanese Traditional Garden from the Old Pavilion, a Unique Chinese-style Building
The Old Pavilion is a Chinese-style building in Shinjuku Gyoen. This building is said to have been donated by Japanese people living in Taiwan in honor of the Showa (1901-1989) Emperor’s wedding. It was constructed in the architectural style similar to that of the southern region of China, something not usually seen in Japan. There aren't that many places where you can see a unique building like this in Japan so this is a treasured building. As such, seeing the Japanese Traditional Garden from the Old Building really is quite special.
Get Energy from the Giant Yurinoki Trees
Yurinoki are said to be a symbol of Shinjuku Gyoen. These giant trees are over 130 years old and 34m tall. Even in Shinjuku Gyoen they really stand out. The three Yurinoki trees standing in a row are an impressive sight. People say that they give you energy just by seeing them. On a clear day, it’s highly recommended to spend the day in the shade of these trees.
Buy Original Shinjuku Gyoen Souvenirs at the Gift Shop
If you’ve come all this way to Shinjuku Gyoen, then you should get some souvenirs you can only buy here! At the rest area in each part of the park there is a gift shop where you can buy goods only available here. Shinjuku Gyoen used to be an area that cultivated olives and tea, and even today, you can buy their original olive cider, black tea, and so on. There are also seasonal sweets and Japanese general goods. Why not get something to remember your trip to Shinjuku Gyoen?
Get a Panoramic View of the Japanese Traditional Garden at Tea House Shoten-tei
Head to Tea House Shoten-tei for a fantastic view of the Japanese Traditional Garden. Shoten-tei is a tea house that was built in 1906, at the same time as Shinjuku Gyoen was created. It was destroyed in the war in 1945 but rebuilt in 1954, and in 1991, it was remodeled to what it is today. The current Shoten-tei was constructed from the same raw materials as the funeral hall of the late Showa Emperor. Enjoy the beautiful garden view from this open tea house. The ample greenery is sure to heal your soul.
Experience Japanese Culture Around Tamamo Pond in the Samurai Residence Site
If you go through the Okido gate and walk straight ahead, Tamamo Pond will appear before your eyes. The well-known Tamagawa-en Garden was located on the same grounds as Shinjuku Gyoen, and Tamamo Pond was a part of that park. Over a long period of time and even now, this is a place that brings people peace of mind. You can experience the beauty of Japanese traditional gardens that have been adored for many years at Tamamo Pond, a trace of its former garden.
Get a Photo of Flower Blossoms Blooming in the Background
Shinjuku Gyoen takes pride in its various flowers that bloom over the course of the four seasons. In spring, there are the cherry blossoms and roses; in summer, the hydrangeas and crape myrtle; in autumn, the changing leaves and fragrant olive; and in winter, the plum blossoms and daffodils. No matter the season, you will be greeted by gorgeous flowers. Shinjuku Gyoen is a scene straight out of a landscape painting. It’s probably a good idea to walk around the park as you focus on the different flowers. Be sure to take plenty of photos of this vivid scenery that you’re unlikely to see anywhere else.
Get a Photo of the Line of Plane Trees That Look Like They're Straight Out of a Movie Scene
The line of plane trees is as spectacular as something seen in a film. Here you can enjoy the exciting scene of the leaves changing color in autumn. There are benches here and there where you can sit and look at the trees. If you get a bit tired from walking, stop and rest while you take in your surroundings. Enjoy walking around aimlessly feeling like you’re the main character in a movie.
Have Lunch at Cafe La Boheme, Known for the Film “Your Name”
This is a place of pilgrimage near Shinjuku Gyoen for fans of the international hit film “Your Name” directed by Makoto Shinkai. The cafe where the main character Taki worked part time was modeled off of Cafe La Boheme. If you’ve seen the film, you’re probably thinking, “I want to go to a cafe this nice!” Coming here would fulfill that wish. Just as it was in the film, even the exterior of the cafe looks stylish. Even people who haven't seen “Your Name” are sure to enjoy a meal in this wonderful space.
Feel the Nostalgia of the Gatehouse Architecture
There are several historical buildings in Shinjuku Gyoen. There are two gatehouses built more than 90 years ago on the grounds. The special architectural design draws attention. Unchanged all this time, the gatehouses are both historical and have received high praise as something valuable that keep the landscape of Shinjuku Gyoen beautiful. At the time, these gates protected the park. When you see the architecture of the gates, you’ll feel like you've slipped back through time.
Eat Sweets at Cafe Hana-no-ki
Shinjuku Gyoen covers a vast area, and all that walking can be quite tiring. This is the perfect time for a break to eat some tasty sweets and recover! At Cafe Hana-no-ki, you can get fruity smoothies and daily special cakes. You can also enjoy slightly unusual desserts, with ingredients you wouldn’t think to put in sweets, like spring onions and chili peppers. If you’re wondering what on earth they might taste like, you should come and check out Cafe Hana-no-ki for yourself.
This was a fairly comprehensive list of the highlights of Shinjuku Gyoen. Even though you’re in the city, there are so many great spots here where you can get a healthy dose of the stunning nature, Japanese culture and history, and food. Such a fulfilling experience is probably only possible here at Shinjuku Gyoen. Definitely come for a visit!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
popular article ranking
Tokyo × Genre
Best of Tags
Best of Area
Recommended articles for you
- Follow WOW! JAPAN
- Can't find it in a guidebook? Looking through this app will definitely make you want to go to Japan.
Sightseeing information to make you say "Wow!", updated every day!