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Even though Tokyo is a futuristic metropolis filled with lots of sky-scrapers, shopping areas and other large scale developments, the city does have its fair share of green areas that give locals and visitors the opportunity to escape from the bustling city life. There are several noteworthy parks that you can go to for picnics, to take pictures, or to relax. We have listed some of the most beautiful parks in Tokyo.
The Imperial Palace East Garden is only a 10-15 minute-walk from Tokyo station. For no admission fee you get the opportunity to walk the grounds of the former Edo Castle and part of the current Imperial Palace. You also get close-up views of the enormous stones used to build the castle walls. Climb the ruins of one of the keeps, off the upper lawn, and visit the Museum of Imperial Collections that exhibits more than 9500 artworks owned by the imperial family.
The Institute for Nature Study National Reserve is perhaps one of Tokyo’s best-kept secrets. The natural reserve (Shizen Kyoiku-en) is situated in the heart of Tokyo, near Meguro Station. The park is operated by the National Museum of Nature and Science, whose aim is to preserve the natural environment of Tokyo’s forests and marshlands, but it is owned by the Ministry of Education. For a small fee, anyone can enjoy the park’s natural beauty. The grounds are also used for research and education.
Located close to the Kiyosumi-Shirakawa Station in Fukagawa is Kiyosumi Teien, another trail park. The park was originally the residence of a rich merchant during the Edo period. The land eventually changed ownership and in 1932 it was donated to the city of Tokyo and opened to the public. One attraction to watch out for are the stone paths set in the water called “isowatari”. Look out for fishes and turtles in the pond, and admire the beautiful reflections of the garden in the water.
Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden, formerly Shiba Villa, is a paradise oasis from where you can see towering sky-scrapers in the distance. Kyu Shiba Rikyu is next to the Hamamatsucho Station and has a lovely landscaped garden with a pond and man-made hills that symbolise the ocean, lakes and mountains of the real world. There are also circular walking trails that enable visitors to admire the garden from various perspectives. The land once served as a home to various feudal lords and government officials during the Edo period. It was opened to the public in 1924 as the Kyu Shiba Rikyu Garden.