Gardens and nature have a special place in Japanese culture. Almost every castle has a lovely garden, and the plants and landscaping surrounding Japanese temples are the main features for many of them. Various Japanese festivals are all about blossoming flowers and natural cycles.

This is true even in Tokyo, one of the busiest and most urban cities in the world. While the gleaming skyscrapers and high tech features are certainly there, there are also many incredible parks and gardens in Tokyo. These offer lovely scenic views as well as places to take a break from busy city life. Here are Tokyo’s top gardens and parks!

1) Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

Sakura petals have fallen! Photo Credit: Kakidai at Wikimedia Commons.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of the largest and most popular parks in Tokyo. It offers a series of meandering paths that lead visitors through tranquil gardens, all of it a short walk from Shinjuku station. You can find not only a traditional Japanese garden here but also an English garden and a French garden. You can also visit tropical plants inside the park’s greenhouse.

In the spring, this is one of the best places in the world to view cherry blossoms, while in autumn, it offers great views of the changing leaves. Please note it’s known as one of the most popular hanami spots in Japan. So if you are going to stay in a hotel nearby Shinjuku Station during spring, don’t forget to pay a visit to this huge park.

The park is closed on Mondays (that are not national holidays) and the period between December 29th and January 3rd, though it remains open from late March to late April and in the first half of November. Admission costs 200 yen.

2) Yoyogi Park

Beautiful sakura at Yoyogi Park. Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr.

Yoyogi Park is not located that much far from Shinjuku Gyoen. If you plan on visiting some famous gardens and parks in Tokyo, and you really can’t ignore visiting this one.

Yoyogi Patk is another of the larger parks found in Tokyo. It does not have many cherry trees, but it is still nice for viewing cherry blossoms in the spring. It is well known for its gingko forest which turns a golden color in autumn. A lot of tourists and locals alike like to visit the park when trees there ablaze with color in autumn.

The park is only a few minutes’ walk from Harajuku station. It’s a pleasant place to picnic, walk, or take a jog. There are not closing days and entry is free.

3) Rikugien Garden

Fall Foliage at Rikugien Garden, Tokyo. Photo Credit: KimonBerlin at Wikimedia Commons.

This lovely garden offers a nice break from the hurried pace of life in Tokyo. It dates back to the Edo Period and was built sometime between 1695 and 1702. It follows the six rules of Waka (or “Japanese”) poetry, a form of poetry daring to the Heian period.

Rikugien is much more attractive in the fall than in spring. It’s no surprise that not all the parks and gardens of Tokyo are popular to see cherry blossoms and autumn leaves. This is possibly one of my best places to see fall foliage in Tokyo. Therefore, I would mind telling that Rikugien in autumn is a sight to behold!

If you visit, enjoy strolling around the peaceful landscape and be sure to visit the tea house. The garden is closed between from December 29th to January 1st. Admission costs 300 yen.

4) Inokashira Park

Sakura at Inokashira Park. Photo Credit: Kimon Berlin at Flickr.

This park is home to Ghibli museum but is also worth a visit in its own right, It has a relaxing atmosphere, bringing a touch of nature to the big city. It is one of the greenest parks in Tokyo. The park is centered on Inokashira Pond.

It offers incredible views in every season, from changing leaves in autumn to the arrival of migratory birds in winter, to cherry and plum blooms in spring, to vibrant greens in summer.

For visitors who want to take their visit even further, I recommend you renting boats to cruise around the pond. Visit the Benten Shrine nearby for a uniquely Japanese scene.  There is also a family zoo, the Inokashira Park Zoo. The park is a 5-minute walk from Kichikoki Station. It is open year round.

5) Hama-rikyu Garden

Rapeseed at Hama Rikyu Garden, Tokyo. Photo Credit: t-mizo at Flickr.

When you take a walk around Hama-rikyu, you will imagine how stunning the garden could be against the backdrop of modern skyscrapers. Those of you interested in visiting Tsukiji Fish Market should also include this beautiful beautiful place to your day trip itinerary.

This large landscape garden can be found in central Tokyo, near Tokyo Bay. You can see many seawater ponds that change with the tides, as well as tea-house that sits on an island. This garden has a long history, serving as a feudal lord’s residence to an imperial strolling garden.

You can walk to this garden from JR Shimbashi Station or Shiodome station in a few minutes. You can also reach it more solely via the Tokyo water bus, which only stops at the garden in one direction.  The park is closed from December 29th to January 1st. Admission costs 300 yen.

6) Imperial Palace East Gardens

Autumn leaves at The East Gardens of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Guilhem Vellut at Flickr.

One of the most fascinating things about the Imperial Palace East Garden is “it’s worth seeing anytime of the year, yes even in the winter!” You will find a number of beautiful gardens there with impressive fall foliage display from mid November through early December.

The Imperial East Garden is the former site of Edo Castle’s innermost defenses. None of the main buildings are still standing, but many moats, walls, gates, and guardhouses remain. In the present day, the site has been changed into a lovely Japanese garden, offering a bit of history as well as some peaceful scenery.

You can reach this garden by walking from Otemachi station or Tokyo station. It is closed on Mondays, Fridays, and from December 28th to January 3rd, as well as on certain special occasions. Admission is free.

7) Koishikawa Korakuen

Plum blossoms at Koishikawa Korakuen Garden. Photo Credit: mrhayata at Flickr.

Koishikawa Korakuen is one of the oldest gardens in Tokyo and is considered by many to be among the best. It dates back to the early Edo period and was originally the residence of a branch of the ruling Tokugawa family. Like many other Japanese gardens, it tries to reproduce famous landscapes in miniature form.

If you plan on visiting Tokyo around mid February and looking to see some flowers around, this garden is worth exploring as you will find a nice a plum grove there. Plum blossoms look pretty and they may remind you of beautiful sakura.

There is a small network of walking trails throughout the park. It’s an incredible refuge found in the beating heart of Tokyo. The garden is a short walk from Iidabashi station, JR Suidobashi station, and Korakuen station. It is closed from December 29th to January 1st. Admission costs 300 yen.

8) Ueno Park

Sakura at Ueno Park, Tokyo. Photo Credit: Marufish at Flickr.

This large public park in Tokyo shares its name with the nearby Ueno station. Ueno park is obviously the most popular tourist attraction nearby Ueno Station and one of the best places to visit in Taito ward of Tokyo.

It was originally a part of the grounds of Kaneiji Temple, one of the biggest and wealthiest temples in the city and closely linked to the Tokugawa clan. The temple was nearly entirely destroyed during the Edo period, leaving us with the park we have today.

There are many museums in the park and even a zoo, the Ueno Zoo. You can see a more than a 1000 cherry trees in bloom in the spring. You must visit this park if you are traveling in Tokyo, especially when sakura start to bloom. As a public park, it does not close and admission is free.

9) Showa Memorial Park (Showa Kinen Park)

Flowers at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo. Photo Credit: ajari at Flickr.

Showa Memorial Park is a perfect holiday spot for your family to spend a lovely day. There are many things to do and plenty of nature to enjoy! While here, you should take a walk around the park to see what it highlights. In the spring, you can see tons of sakura including colorful tulips.

This garden sits 30 minutes away from central Tokyo. It covers more than 160 hectares and contains numerous museums, sports facilities, and seasonal blooms. It was opened in 1983. This park is a wonderful day trip for anyone spending time in Tokyo, offering a quiet refuge and beautiful views no matter the season.

Showa Memorial Park is closed December 31st, January 1st, and the fourth Monday and Tuesday of February. Admission is 450 yen.

10) Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden

Shiba Rikyu garden during autumn. Photo Credit: Yoshio Kohara at Wikimedia Commons.

This popular Japanese landscape garden was built in land reclaimed from Tokyo Bay. It sits in the middle of the city, surrounded by tall buildings, and provides a lush oasis of nature. It opened to the public in 1924 and is very popular for those looking to find some serenity in the big city.

Taking a stroll in this garden would be an amazing experience and it’s relaxing as well. Tourists should head over to this stunning traditional Japanese landscape garden whenever they visit Hama Rikyu Garden and other interesting landmarks in Minato ward such as Tokyo Tower, and Roppongi Hills.

You can reach the park from Hamamatsucho station or by walking from the Daimon subway station. It is closed from December 31st to January 1st. Admission costs 150 yen.