Yoyogi and Shinjuku in Tokyo are metropolitan areas full of skyscrapers, but also have large parks and historic shrines where you can experience nature. Here are five tourist destinations in these areas where you can feel nature.
1. Meiji Jingu
Meiji Jingu was built to enshrine Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken. It is known to attract the largest number of visitors for hatsumode, when people visit shrines to pray for safety and peace at the beginning of the year. Although Meiji Jingu is in the middle of Tokyo, its grounds are vast and the approximately 100,000 trees that were dedicated at the time it was built have now grown into a forest, giving it a solemn atmosphere. There is also a garden that Empress Shoken often visited, with an iris field where the flowers bloom in June. The shrine's dignified and quiet space and the verdant forest enables the visitor to forget the hustle and bustle of the city.
2. Meiji Jingu Gaien
Meiji Jingu Gaien is a Western-style park that was built to commemorate the achievements of Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. Its forest of approximately 25,000 trees on the vast grounds that straddles the two wards of Shinjuku and Minato is truly a city oasis. The row of ginkgo trees that are nearly 100 years old is particularly famous and popular for walks. In the fall, many people visit to see the ginkgo trees with their golden foliage. There are many sports facilities in Meiji Jingu Gaien, so it is recommended as a place to reinvigorate oneself by exercising among the greenery.
3. Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen originally belonged to a samurai family, but was built into a garden for the imperial family in 1906, and opened to the public in 1949. It skillfully combines elements of Western and Japanese gardens and is considered to be a great garden representative of modern gardens in Japan. It has approximately 10,000 trees and shrubs. It is particularly popular during the spring when the 1,100 cherry trees of 65 varieties blossom, but there is much to see each season and it is a place of rest and relaxation for citizens throughout the year. There are elegant buildings that were built during the time that it belonged to the imperial family, so it is fun to stroll around the garden and visit the buildings while taking in the nature.
Park hours: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Entrance fee: 200 JPY/adult, 50 JPY/elementary and junior high school, free for preschool age children
4. Yoyogi Park
Yoyogi Park, a vast park just several minutes on foot from Harajuku, was redeveloped after being used as the Olympic Village in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and opened as a park in 1967. The trees that were planted at the time have grown into a forest, creating a veritable city oasis. It has Japan's first bird sanctuary that was established to protect wild birds, so you may encounter some wild birds when visiting. Fountains and a water circuit were added in 1990, making the park even more attractive as a place for rest and relaxation. A variety of events, including flea markets, are held on holidays, so check it out if you are interested.
5. Shinjuku Chuo Park
As the name suggests, Shinjuku Chuo (Central) Park is located in the middle of Shinjuku. This park, which is surrounded by Tokyo Metropolitan Government office buildings and other skyscrapers, is a precious place of rest and relaxation where businesspeople working in the Shinjuku area can experience nature. It is the largest park run by the ward government, and has many sports facilities. Flea markets are sometimes held on holidays, so it may be fun to check them out while strolling around the park.
Even in the grand metropolis of Tokyo, there are verdant places where you can feel nature. They are highly recommended as places to visit to relax and reinvigorate yourselves.
*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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