Escape the crowds and noise of the city by spending some time in one of the many beautiful Tokyo parks and gardens. Do a spot of yoga, explore one of the quiet Buddhist temples, and stroll around immaculately raked Japanese gardens and mysterious Shinto shrines.
Visit Inokashira-koen in western Tokyo for beautiful trees, row boats, and swan-shaped pedal boats. Then head to the nearby shops for grilled chicken skewers, or pack a picnic and travel to Kasai Rinkai Park for birdlife, an aquarium, and some relaxation.
Make your way to beautiful Ueno Park for a traditional Japanese experience. Here, you’ll find wooded pathways leading to century-old shrines, and an impressive temple dedicated to a water goddess in Shinobazu Pond. Admire the birdlife of Ueno and visit its zoo. Then rent a row boat, or sit by the water and munch on convenience store onigiri (rice-ball snacks).
Shinjuku Goyen, originally an imperial retreat, is the perfect place to relax. The wide expanse of lawns, and cherry blossoms in spring, make it the ideal spot for a picnic with travel companions. Check out the greenhouse (it has giant lily-pads), the flower displays in November, the park’s pavilions, and also its restaurant.
Go for a jog in Yoyogi Park, only a five-minute walk from Harajuku Station. On warm autumn and spring afternoons, you’ll see many locals lazing around this grassy park. You can picnic here year-round and it’s a great place to view cherry blossoms in spring. In autumn, Yoyogi Park is truly picturesque, with the gold of the ginko tree forest a striking element of the landscape.
At Hamarikyu Gardens, skyscrapers stand tall in contrast to the meticulously styled gardens below. These scenic gardens are situated alongside Tokyo Bay and uniquely feature seawater ponds that follow the ebb and flow of the tides. Enjoy the greenery and serenity of Hamarikyu Gardens with a green tea and dumplings from the park’s teahouse.
For views of Tokyo Tower, make your way to Shiba Park, built around Zojoji Temple in the Roppongi area. The temple is home to a 5th century tomb. In spring, cherry blossom trees flower around the tomb and the pond, giving the park a dreamlike feel – particularly at night with the lights of Tokyo Tower nearby.
Rikugien Garden, about a 10-minute walk south from Komagome Station on the JR Yamanote Line, is a gorgeous space with walkways running over hills, streams, and stone bridges. Overlook the garden’s central pond with a warm cup of matcha tea (powdered green tea) at the park’s teahouse. Stroll past maple trees and through miniature reproductions of 88 scenes from famous poems.