Rikugien is a classic Edo-era (17th- to 19th-century), strolling garden, and travelers who are especially interested in Japanese gardens should put it at the top of any Tokyo itinerary. The name means Six Poems Garden, and 88 scenes from Japanese poems are recreated here. The central feature is the pond, which is surrounded by paths, trees, and plants. Visit Rikugien Garden independently, or join an organized tour that includes a number of attractions.
Things to Know Before You Go
Walking at a relaxed speed, it takes about an hour to stroll through the trails of the garden.
There is a teahouse where visitors can enjoy a Japanese tea.
In the spring and autumn, the park’s hours are extended into the evening so visitors can see the gardens lit up at night.
There is an admission fee to enter the gardens.
How to Get There
Rikugien Garden is in the northern part of Tokyo. The easiest way to get there is to take the JR Yamanote line or the Tokyo Metro Namboku line to Komagome station, from which it is a 5-10 minute walk. Alternatively, take the Toei Mita line to Sengoku station, from which the gardens are a 10-minute walk.
When to Get There
Rikugien is especially beautiful in the autumn (late November to early December) when the leaves turn gold, red, yellow, and orange. Autumn leaf viewing is a favorite pastime of the Japanese, however, so the garden may be more crowded when there is colorful foliage. The spring is also a good time to visit, due to the blooming cherry and azalea trees.
Visit Saitama’s Bonsai Garden
Avid gardeners and lovers of Japanese gardens will also want to visit the Omiya Bonsai Village, in Saitama City. There are multiple bonsai nurseries here, the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, and many private homes here display bonsai in their front gardens. Saitama City is just north of Tokyo, and is an easy half-hour train journey from central Tokyo.
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