Shinjuku Gyoen (新宿御苑 or しんじゅくぎょえん) is probably one of Tokyo’s most treasured and picturesque parks. It is nature’s escape surrounded by the district’s sprawling concrete jungle and is easy to appreciate the vivid colour and rich beauty of this paradise all year round.
Particularly gorgeous at the time of the Cherry Blossoms and Autumn Leaves seasons, it is a must-see spot for those looking for refuge from the lively urban walk of life.
There are three main spots to explore and escape to being the traditional Japanese garden, an asymmetrical French garden and a more open lawn inspired British garden.
The traditional Japanese garden is typical of what you might expect, with its immaculately manicured plantation, sweeping ponds, arched bridges and small islets. The ponds are also overpopulated with a spectrum of differently coloured Koi fish, who will surface with open mouths at the first sign of movement as if to expect feeding time.
The French gardens are more of a formal wedding configuration with the perfection of symmetry, colour and purpose, beautifully presented as if it were the entrance of an aristocrat’s castle.
The British gardens feature many wide open areas, full of green lawns and lined by many kinds of trees which bloom through the spring seasons.
Seasonal changes are a must-see for nature enthusiasts, rich in white and pink cherry blossoms in full bloom during the late March and early April Spring season. Towards the cooler months, you can witness some of the more lavish red and brown views of Autumn leaves, especially from the Maple trees.
Shinjuku Gyoen (Shinjuku Entrance gate) is accessible by train either a short 10-minute stroll from Shinjuku JR Station’s New South Exit or a short five minute walk from Shinjuku-Gyoen-mae station on the Marunouchi Metro Line. Admission is 200 yen, and it is open to the public from 9.00-16.00, excluding Mondays.