Tokyo is known for being one of the largest cities in the world, and with an impressive population of over 13 million people, it understandably gets incredibly busy. Tokyo is notorious for its crowded trains during rush hour, the thousands that cross the infamous Scramble near Shibuya Station, and the crowds that visit famous public events such as fireworks viewing and annual festivals.
The central shopping areas, in particular, get crowded during the weekends and national holidays. Although the city does a great job of handling the huge population, it can sometimes feel like there is no escape from the crowds. However, as well as shopping streets, popular tourist attractions, and business districts of tall, sparkling skyscrapers, there are also places where you can relax and unwind amidst nature without having to leave the city. Tokyo is home to some wonderful parks. Let’s take a look at some of them!
Perhaps the most well-known park in Tokyo, Yoyogi Park is near the famous Takeshita-dori shopping street in Harajuku and often hosts festivals and events. It is also easy to spot dancers here during weekends.
It is possible to rent a bicycle for just a couple of hundred yen and enjoy the short bike trail that takes you through the park’s trees and along the river. Yoyogi Park is also an excellent location for a picnic during summer. Visit Yoyogi after a morning of shopping or check out any local festivities that may be happening here.
Also near this park is the Meiji Shrine, a free shrine with one of the tallest torii gates in the country, and dog cafe DOG HEART from Aquamarine.
Komazawa Olympic Park in Setagaya hosted the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. The park itself is quite big, with a lovely bicycle road and a small sports area where you can often see young people playing basketball. Its size also means that it’s a great place to watch event races and see the cherry blossoms in spring.
If you’re a fan of dogs, you’re in luck, as local people often bring their dogs here for walks. It also hosts the yearly Tokyo Ramen Show in October and November.
Since it’s not near as much metropolitan area, it doesn’t get as busy as Yoyogi Park. So if you’re in Meguro or Setagaya, give this nice park a visit.
Another well-loved park in Tokyo is Ueno Park, which boasts a zoo, a pond where you can sail boats, and an area where street food is often sold. It’s also very close to many historical museums.
It does get a little crowded during the cherry blossom season, but it’s a great place to relax in other times of the year after you’ve been shopping at the nearby Ameyoko Market. Riding a swan boat on the small lake makes for a great date, too.
Even the metropolis’ second center that is Shinjuku has a park! Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of the most popular and largest parks in Tokyo. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1949 after it was destroyed during World War II. The gardens here are well kept and wonderful for a stroll. There is a Japanese garden, a formal French garden, and an English garden.
The park also has a greenhouse hosting more exotic plants, and a restaurant and gallery are also nearby. You can make a full day of exploring these charming grounds if you’re all shopped and templed out.
Although you do have to pay to enter the Imperial Palace grounds, the garden beside it is free. The spacious Imperial Garden include an old lookout spot, a tearoom, and areas where you can stroll around for at least an hour or two. Enjoy looking at the local fauna and spot the patrolling guards. Visit here on a warm day before you hit the palace grounds.
The garden is closed on Mondays, Fridays, and during national holidays and special occasions.
Shopping, dining, and exploring the exciting metropolitan life of Tokyo is fun, but sometimes you just need to get away from it all and spend time in a more comfortable and relaxing environment. If you feel tired when you’re exploring this great city, head over to one of these five parks to drink coffee, take pictures, and stroll among the beauty of the well-kept pockets of nature.