Tokyo is a megacity that’s full of life, traditional and modern culture, and of course, sparkling buildings at night. But, where did the beautiful Instagram photos of Tokyo with lots of cherry blossoms or fall foliage came from?
You don’t have to think about them anymore! Because I got them all for you. In this post, you will know the parks, gardens, and rivers to see autumn colors and beautiful cherry blossoms in Tokyo.
I created this post because I want to help tourists and travelers like me and you to enjoy the nature side of Tokyo.
You can also find the Google Map location of these parks to show you immediate where they are. The ways you can access these gardens in Tokyo are here as well.
Before anything else, coming at the right time of the year is a must to see these gardens and parks burst in colors:
Plum Blossoms: Starts in late February through March
Cherry Blossoms: Happens in late March to early April
Fall Foliage: Occurs in late November to early December
Hamarikyu Gardens – A Park in Tokyo With Blooms and Skyscrapers
Hamarikyu Gardens is a traditionally designed garden (Edo-period style) between Sumida River and Shoidome district. It served as a feudal and imperial retreat for many years. Hamarikyu Gardens was only opened to the public in April 1946.
What to Expect in Hamarikyu Gardens
- Hamarikyu Gardens is beautiful to visit all year with the views of the tall buildings and their reflections in the ponds.
- It has maple and ginkgo trees that display brilliant autumn colors. It is a “nice” but not so excellent spot to see fall foliage.
- Hamarikyu Gardens has flowers that bloom at different weeks of spring. Plum blossoms start in early February, and cherry blossoms appear from the last weeks of March to early April. We can also find peony and canola flowers blooming here in Hamarikyu Gardens during the spring.
- There are several ponds and islets in the park. One of which has a tea house in the middle where you can relax while seeing the Tokyo skyline from a comfy and cozy shop.
- There is an Instagrammable flower bed in the northern section of the Hamarikyu Gardens. It is a great spot to take fantastic photos!
How to Go to Hamarikyu Gardens
There are three ways you can visit Hamarikyu Gardens:
- Less walking: Hop on a train running along Oedo Subway Line or Yurikamone Line, then drop by Shiodome Station. There you can start the Five-minute walk to the Hamarikyu Gardens.
- Alternative route: Drop by Shimbashi Station and start the Fifteen-minute walk to the Hamarikyu Garden.
- Water route: Tokyo Water Bus. You will be dropped off at the northeastern portion of the park.
Koishikawa Korakuen – The Oldest Garden in Tokyo
Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens was built during the early Edo period in the 1600s as a residence of a ruling family. It is considered Tokyo’s oldest garden.
The garden is just beside a dome-shaped baseball stadium, together with roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, and a mall. Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens is a perfect resting place after having fun in this urban entertainment complex.
What to Expect in Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
- The fall foliage in Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens can be seen at the shores of the largest pond and in the westernmost pond of the garden. However, based on what I saw, the pond with the Byobu Rock (westernmost pond) offers the best sceneries of the autumn trees. The pond is covered with trees, and the pond is filled with fallen autumn leaves.
- Plum blossoms happen at the northern portion of the Korakuen Gardens, blooming a few weeks earlier than the cherry trees near the ponds.
- In the southeastern part of Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, we can find another small pond shaded with Ginkgo trees that turn burning yellow every autumn.
- Also, in the southeast part of Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens, there is a small waterfall called Sleeping Waterfall. Be there to get some tranquil silence and relaxation.
- You can get refreshments in Kantoku-Tei Tea house in the southwestern part of Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens. It is praised in the reviews for having tasty food at a reasonable price. You can eat there with the view of the park.
- Surprisingly, there is a small rice field north of the Kuhachiya Pavilion. There is a wooden platform to let you cross the rice field – a small adventure to try.
- There are two picturesque bridges in the gardens: Tsutenkyo Bridge (the red bridge) and Engetsukyo Bridge (the stone bridge).
How to Go to Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens
Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens is only a 5-minute walk of these stations:
- Korakuen Station
- Suidobashi Station (JR Chuo Line, Toei Oedo Line, Tozai, Yurakucho, and Namboku Tokyo Metro lines)
- Iidabashi Station (JR)
Shinjuku Gyoen – A Beautiful National Garden in Tokyo
Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the most beautiful parks in Tokyo, known for the plethora of cherry blossoms everywhere in the park during the spring season. Many locals and tourists use the spacious lawns in the park for leisure activities that come as simple as just bonding on the grounds.
The garden has a long history. It was used as a feudal lord’s residence in the beginning. Later, to a botanical park, then to an imperial family’s recreational space, and finally to a public park in 1949.
Shinjuku Gyoen has three types of gardens:
- Japanese Traditional Garden – Located in the southern portion of Shinjuku Gyoen. It can be distinguishable with the presence of the ponds and islets connected by bridges.
- English Garden – Positioned in the middle of the Shinjuku Gyoen. It has wide-open spaces with several trees in the middle.
- French Garden – Situated at the southeastern portion of the garden.
What to Expect in Shinjuku Gyoen
Aside from the different gardens, you can expect:
- A beautifully architectured greenhouse garden can be found in the Okido Gate / Shinjuku Gyoen Entrance. There, you can find thousands of plant species including, cactus, orchids, tropical plants, and even indigenous Japanese plants.
- Just beside the greenhouse is an old imperial resthouse. It was built in 1896, used by the royal family after they had their leisure activities in the garden.
- There are tea houses in the park where you eat snacks while enjoying sightseeing the beautiful trees in the park. If you like coffee, there is Starbucks just before you reach the French Garden.
- Approaching the French garden, you can see the Instagrammable Rose Beds with yellow, red, white, and pink roses.
- Most cherry trees are concentrated south of the Kids Area on the other side of the pond, in front of Starbucks.
- If you want to see the many trees showing vibrant autumn leaves, proceed to the Shimono Ike pond at the very corner of the Shinjuku Gyoen (Southeast portion; beside the French Garden)
- If you are a history lover, you can visit the historic pavilion Kyu-Goryo-Tei (Taiwan Pavilion) at the center of Shinjuku Gyoen. It is also an excellent photo spot as the pond on its front reflects the trees and buildings seen from the pavilion.
How to Go to Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen has three gates. Each gate has a station near to them. But You can use any of these gates to come/enter Shinjuku Gyoen easier:
- Okido Gate – a 5-minute walk from Shinjuku Gyoenmae Station
- Sendagaya Gate – a 4-minute walk from Sendagaya Station
Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue – A Garden in Tokyo With Scenic Lining Ginkgo Trees
Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue, located at Meiji Jingu Outer Garden, is a western-style urban garden in the Shinjuku and Minato Ward in Tokyo. Private volunteers created the park to enlive the virtues of Emperor Meiji.
The avenue leads to many city facilities and cultural heritage buildings like Meiji Memorial Hall, Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery, Meiji Jingu Stadium, Meiji Jingu Gaien Softball Ground, and many more.
What to Expect in Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue
- At least 140 Ginkgo Trees are lining on both sides of the avenue. The tree’s leaves turn vibrant yellow during the autumn season – turning the passageway look like a golden tunnel.
- The golden tunnel is a quick visit, as you can finish walking the whole avenue within less than 10 minutes.
- At the western portion of the avenue, you can find shops selling coffee and burgers you can visit if you need refreshments.
How to Go to Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue
There are two train stations near the entrance of the Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue:
- From Aoyama Station, walk to the west for 4 to 5 minutes, and you’ll arrive at the Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue’s entrance.
- From Gaiemmae Station, walk to the east for 2 to 3 minutes, and you’ll arrive at the opening of Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue.
Rikugien Gardens – Tokyo’s Garden With a Big Weeping Cherry Tree
Rikugien Gardens is a typical daimyo garden constructed during the Edo Period, with a large central pond and manmade hills. It is now specified as a special place of scenic beauty, with forests, open lawns, and interconnected scenic trails.
The most famous sightseeing spots in the Rikugien Gardens are:
- The stream near Tsutsuji no Chaya teahouse
- Togetsukyo Bridge
- Fujishirotoge viewpoint
What to Expect in Rikugien Gardens
- The park has several cherry trees blooming every spring near the park’s entrance. One that you should see is the big weeping cherry tree, located after the wooden entrance gate.
- Going further inner the gardens, you will see a big pond with an islet in the middle, connected by Dentsuru Bridge – yet you cannot enter the islet.
- At the north of the islet, you can find the Fujishirotoge Viewpoint and Tsutsujijaya teahouse. It is the part of the garden best for sightseeing fall foliage.
- There is another teahouse (Fukiagejaya Tea House) at the end of the stream. It is a spot where you can rest and eat with the views of the pond and the towering buildings at the backdrop.
- Besides the cherry trees, azalea bushes are growing around the large pond’s shores, which also bloom almost in the period as the cherries.
How to Go to Rikugien Gardens
The thing you need to do is to get a train ride along JR Yamanote Line or the Tokyo Metro Namboku Line. Drop by Komagome Station. From there, you can start walking. After 3 to 5 minutes, you can arrive at the gate of the Rikugien Gardens.
Inokashira Park – A Park With Boat and Zoo in Tokyo
With approximately 500 cherry blossom trees in Inokashira Park, it’s no wonder why it is one of the favorite destinations of tourists during the Spring season. The Inokashira Park also has other plants like cypresses, azaleas, and red pines that make the park look more pleasing to the eyes.
Inokashira Park is actually a gift of the imperial family to the people. This gift is composed of many leisure spots like a zoo and a museum. Inokashira Park also has a triangular-shaped pond with a triangular-shaped peninsula in the middle. It is the place people can rent a swan boat to start sightseeing the cherry blossoms around the lake that occurs every spring.
The Inokashira Park is crescent in shape, and there are just tons of things to visit and see on it.
What to Expect in Inokashira Park
- At the northern portion of Inokashira Park, we will see the narrowest part of the Inokashira pond. It is also where tons of cherry trees bloom beautifully around the pond during the spring.
- There are several shops south of the narrowest portion of the lake. You can have Thai and Italian dishes as well as coffee.
- In the lake center, we can find two bridges (Nanai Bridge and Komae Bridge). They connect the lakeshore to the tip of a mini peninsula where the Inokashira Park Boat Station is located.
- At the Inokashira Park Boat Station, we can rent boats to go around the lake to watch the shore filled with cherry blossoms during the spring.
- Adjacent to the Inokashira Park Boat Station is the Aquatic Life Park. It has two entrances, Benten Gate (nearer to the Main Zoo) and Nanai Gate (Nearer to the boat station)
- In the Aquatic Life Park, we can see different kinds of aquatic birds like swans, geese, cranes, ducks, Heron, and many others.
- Moving 300 meters west, passing through the Gotenyama pedestrian bridge, we will arrive at the main entrance of the Inokashira Park Zoo.
- The zoo has different facilities, like playgrounds, Japanese gardens, coffee shops, animal habitats, wildlife encounter fields, an exhibition hall, and even an amusement park!
- After the zoo, we can move south to see the remaining “larger” portion of Inokashira Park. There, we can see different sports fields, bird sanctuaries, and other “smaller” parks.
- Between the sports fields, we can find Ghibli Museum. It is a whimsical museum with a play area, rooftop garden, and a theater.
How to Go to Inokashira Park
There are two ways you can come to Inokashira Park:
- Lesser Walk: From Inokashira-Koen Station (Keio-Inokashira Line), walk for 1 minute to Inokashira Park.
- Alternative Route: From Kichijoji Station (JR Chuo Line), walk for 5 minutes to the Inokashira Park.
Showa Kinen Park – Tokyo’s Largest Park
The list of beautiful parks in Tokyo does end without Showa Kinen Park. It is the largest park in Tokyo, with a “very massive” area of 165 ha (407 acres). It even has an 11 kilometer (6.83 miles) bike trail inside!
Showa Kinen Park has an L-shaped land area if you look at it from the sky. Within this area, we can find tons of recreational spots and colorful gardens. These gardens are one of the most vibrant in Tokyo, with blooming plants like poppies, tulips, and cherries.
Aside from recreational opportunities, there are plenty of attractions that can be found here in Showa Kinen Park. A few of the most famous parts of the park are the Ginkgo promenade, barbeque garden, the recreation of traditional Japanese folk village, and many others.
What to Expect in Showa Kinen Park
There are literally endless places and things to do in Showa Kinen Park for a day. But here are the best portions of the park that you should not miss seeing (starting from the north):
- The northwestern part of the park seems to be built for kids. You can find lots of playgrounds like Foggy Forest, Children’s Forest, Adventure Forest, Rainbow Hammocks, and many more. But if you have your kids with you, don’t forget to bring them to Cloud Ocean (Fuwa-Fuwa Dome), also in the northern portion of the park. It is a fun-filled soft hilly playground where kids can jump and fall without getting hurt.
- Moving east, we’ll get to the northeastern portion of the park. There we can find Flower Hill, a garden covered with blooming flowers. Depending on the season, you can see poppies, sunflowers, tulips, or cosmos flowers painting the hill with vibrant flowery colors.
- Moving south a little bit, we’ll find an open field called “Min’na no harappa” (Everyone’s Field) with the Giant Elm Tree in the middle. It is surrounded by flower fields similar to Flower Hill.
- When you are under the Giant Elm Tree during the spring, and you look northwest, you will see the Cherry Blossom Garden blooming over a field of colorful flowers.
- “Everyone’s Field” is also surrounded by several shops and stands located at the east, south, and west.
- If you are in the”Everyone’s Field” and you walk westward, you will arrive into an Instagrammable row of ginkgo trees that turns into a radiant yellow tunnel during autumn.
- Beside the row of ginkgo trees is the barbeque garden where you can literally cook barbeques and eat your lunch or snacks.
- It’s not surprising that there’s also a water park inside Showa Kinen Park. It is located south of the barbeque garden and west of Waterfowl Pond, the “biggest” pond in the park.
- Moving eastward from the Waterfowl Pond, across the Zanbori River, you’ll arrive at a neat and beautifully designed Park Fountain connected to a canal with smaller fountains.
- Also, at the same spot, you can find another Ginkgo Promenade. It is similar to the one beside the barbeque gardens.
- Finally, at the easternmost portion of Showa Kinen Park, you can see Hana Midori Cultural Center, which applies a “parkitecture” design. It is the type of architecture that integrates with the park’s landscape.
How to Go to Showa Kinen Park
There are two train stations near Showa Kinen Park:
- Nishi-Tachikawa Station – directly at the entrance of the park
- Tachikawa Station – requires a 7-minute walk before you reach the eastern entrance of the Showa Kinen Park
Chidorigafuchi Moat – Tokyo’s Postcard Perfect Park
The Chidorigafuchi Moat was created to fortify the defenses of the once-standing Shogun’s Edo Castle (a part of the current Tokyo Imperial Palace) from rebels and other state’s enemies. But as the ages pass, structures were repurposed as the society evolves.
Today, Chidorigafuchi Moat serves as one of the most famous attractions in Tokyo during Hanami. It is a tranquil place in the city center you can spot the Tokyo Tower with dramatic views of the blooming trees.
What to Expect in Chidorigafuchi Moat
- The Chidorigafuchi Moat is actually in a Chidorigafuchi Park with 250+ individual cherry blossom trees, including Yoshino and Yamazakura species.
- One of the two ways visitors can enjoy the park is through strolling at the 700-meter-walkway running along the park.
- But nothing could feel much more romantic or scenic than the views from the boat ride in the Chidorigafuchi Moat.
How to Go to Chidorigafuchi Moat
You can immediately access Chidorigafuchi Moat from Hanzomon Line at theHanzomon Station. After you arrive at the station, walk east for three to five minutes, and you’ll see the 700-meter-walkway right away.
Shingashi River – A River Park in Tokyo Covered With Cherry Blossoms Petals
Shingashi River is another cherry blossoms destination in Tokyo during the Hanami (full bloom) season. It is a 34.6-kilometer or 21.5-mile river that flows from Musashino Plateau into the Sumida River at Iwabuchi in Kita, Tokyo.
Though the Shingashi River is long, only a portion of it has cherry trees. If you want to see where these cherry trees are, go to the Shingashi River north of Miyashitamachi. It is the part of the Shingashi River that is almost covered by cherry trees.
What to Expect in Shingashi River
- During summer, the cherry trees along the Shingashi River look like a green tunnel, giving a complete tranquil feel. But when spring comes, the river turns into a pink tunnel that’s too charming not to visit.
- You can get a boat ride in the Shingashi River. Two boatmen (or sometimes one depending on the size of the vessel) maneuver the boat with bamboo sticks pushing the boat from the bottom of the river.
- If you’re lucky, you can see the Shingashi River’s surface covered with cherry petals (pink river). It is a lovely scene that came straight out of a movie or fairy tale.
How to Go to Shingashi River
Going to Shingashi River is an effort of a 30-minute walk from Honkawagoe station in Seibu Shinjuku Line. Alternatively, you can use these Google Maps routes provided in the link for lesser walking.
Meguro River – A River Park in Tokyo With Glamoring Lights
Meguro River is a picturesque river in Tokyo with a length of 7.82 km (4.86 mi). Its river banks are beautifully landscaped, filled with cherry blossom trees. Meguro River is acting not only as a tourist attraction during Hanami, but it is also an urban green space for the communities around.
Shingashi River and Meguro River might be the same as rivers with cherry trees in their riverbeds, but they differ in few ways. Meguro River just has easier access compared to Shingashi River. But, if you want to feel more tranquil, you visit Shingashi instead.
Here are the sightseeing or photograph locations of Meguro River (Click to view in Google Maps):
What to Expect in Meguro River
- There are 800 cherry blossom trees along the Meguro River. These cherry blossom trees make a very Instagrammable scene along the river.
- Find interesting artworks from the Meguro Museum of Art or feel creepy with Tokyo Parasite Museum – both you can find along the Meguro River.
- Grab a beer from the stalls along Meguro River. It’s more fun if you come during Nakameguro Sakura Festival when locals celebrate the spring with a feast under the cherry blossoms.
- Come at night as Meguro River turns into a glamorous strip of cherry blossom garden with glowing paper lanterns strung above the river (only up to 9pm).
How to Go to Meguro River
Here are the train stations near Meguro River:
- Ikejiri-Ohashi Station (Den-en-Toshi Line)
- Naka-Meguro Station (Toyoko Line and Metro Hibiya Line)
- Meguro Station (JR East Yamanote Line, Tokyo Metro Namboku Line, Toei Mita Line and Tokyo Meguro Line)
- Gotanda Station (JR East Yamanote Line, Tokyu Ikegami Line and Toei Asakusa Line)
Sumida Park – See Tokyo SkyTree From This Park
Sumida Park is a narrow strip of land along the Sumida River planted with cherry trees. It is here you can make your own photograph of Tokyo SkyTree framed by cherry blossoms.
What to Expect in Sumida Park
- It is a small and “simple” park where you can see the pleasant view of Tokyo Skyline under the cherry blossoms.
- Another building that you can see in Sumida Park is the Asahi Beer Hall building (a structure that looks like a mug of the frothy golden beverage)
- You can also find playgrounds, coffee shops in Sumida Park.
How to Go to Sumida Park
Going to Sumida Park is easy. It is just under a five-minute walk from Asakusa Station (Ginza, Asakusa, and Tobu Isezaki lines).
Shiba Park – View of Tokyo Tower From This Park
Shiba Park is one of the oldest parks in Japan. It is a public park in Minato established in 1873 to see the Tokyo Tower much closer and photograph it with cherry blossoms/fall foliage.
This is the place in Tokyo you can see many mothers and children having lunch together, office workers using exercise machines, and joggers circling the park.
What to Expect in Shiba Park
- Inside Shiba Park, we can find cherry trees blooming beautifully every spring. A perfect place and time to photograph Tokyo Tower with the pink cherry blossoms framing it.
- At the artificial ravine called Autumn Leaf Valley or “Momiji-Dani,” we can see trees whose leaves turn vibrant gold and red during the Autumn season.
- Also, in Autumn Leaf Valley, we can find the massive 20 m (66 ft) Japanese zelkova tree with a trunk circumference of 2.5 m (8.25 ft)
- There are several shrines, chapels, and temples in Shiba Park. One of these is the Shiba Toshogu Shrine. Another is Zojoji Temple, a structure with the Tokyo Tower in the background.
- Plum Trees also grow inside Shiba Park. If you come to the park at the right time, you can see them bloom as well.
How to Go to Shiba Park
There are several stations near Shiba Park:
- JR Hamamatsucho Station (Yamanote Line)
- Daimon Station (Oedo and Asakusa Subway Lines)
- Akabanebashi Station (Oedo Subway Line)
- Shiba Koen Station (Mita Line) – The nearest station to Shiba Park
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