Tokyo is a puzzling, wonderful, loud, hectic, wonderful city. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve traveled more than most and seen a lot, but Japan is completely different from anywhere else. This weird and wonderful country has a way of filling me with childlike wonder and amazement.
Browsing through the seemingly endless attractions and things to do can be a daunting task for a first-timer, and I’m sure not many people would first think to spend a leisurely day strolling around a park. That is exactly what you should do, though – the park offers a lovely respite from the hurries of the city!
Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is especially beautiful during the autumn. I visited in early December and found incredibly vivid foliage as well as blooming flowers – it was like autumn and spring simultaneously!
The park is an astonishing experience that should be at the top of any To Do list for anyone planning to visit Tokyo. It provides a great new perspective to view the world’s largest city, one of peace and tranquility.
Tokyo is a city of polar opposites – modern skyscrapers line the calm park
Tokyo’s fall foliage is at it’s best in late November and early December
Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremonies are a fun thing to do when in Japan. Since it is a ceremony, there are lots of rules and customs that visitors should take into account. The two tearooms in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Rakuutei and Shoutentei, are very easy to approach, though. Just buy a ticket from the machine outside, step in and try to keep calm and (relatively) quiet, sit down and wait to be served a lovely matcha tea and sweets.
When to Visit
Shinjuku Gyoen is closed on Mondays.
Mornings are the best time to visit the park if you want to avoid crowds – hit the gates as soon as the park opens at 9AM for the best chance at peace and tranquility.
November and December are generally best for foliage fans. Late summer is great for picnics and sunbathing. Spring and the blossoming cherry trees shouldn’t be missed.
Walking around the lush gardens it’s hard to believe what’s waiting just outside the gates…