Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
What Japanese call “Shinjuku Gyoen” is a large garden laying the east of Shinjuku. The garden has several different area such as Japanese garden, large lawn area, and rose garden. It’s a nice break from a busy Tokyo to walk through the garden that oversee the buildings of surrounding Tokyo.
How to Enjoy Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden
You can walk through the garden seeing the flowers and plants. If it’s a good season ( not too hot or cold), I recommend you to get a lunch box or any snacks and enjoy the time on the leisure sheet. In case you don’t have leisure sheet (which probably you don’t), you can get it for a few hundred yen ($1-$10) at 100 Yen shop or convenience stores.
Since it’s considered to be a garden and not park, it’s not allowed to have an alcohol drink in the garden. Another thing not allowed is jogging or any sports in the garden.
What you can see in Shinjuku Gyoen
What you can see in the garden greatly depends on the season. In spring, various kinds of cherry blossoms bloom in the park of Shinjuku Gyoen. In summer, it is covered with thick green grass. In autumn, roses and autumn leaves are the highlights. In winter, the scenery becomes a little brown and colorless, but in the Japanese garden you can always see the beautiful shape of the trees with cityscape of the Shinjuku in the background.
Starbucks opened in the garden so you can enjoy coffee taking a rest or as you walk the garden. The line can be long on the weekend. There are plenty of vending machine for drink in the garden.
Cherry Blossom Season in Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen is also one of the best spots to see cherry blossom in the Spring. There are cherry blossom trees all over the garden, so you can find your favorite spots and put your leisure sheet. Even though Tokyo has many locations that is famous for cherry blossom, not many places are suitable for putting leisure sheet and relax. It’s more for just walking through under the tree. As I mentioned above, the only things to note is that alcohol is not allowed in Shinjuku Gyoen. In case you want to have a garden party with wine and beer, you can proceed to Yoyogi Park which is not that far from here.
There are more reason why you should consider Shinjuku Gyoen for cherry blossom. The major cherry-blossom in Japan is called “Somei Yoshino” and when Japanese people talks about cherry-blossom, usually we mean this specific kind. But it is so difficult to visit Japan for the bloom of Somei Yoshino. In Shinjuku Gyoen, they have several different cherry-blossom, so even if you visit too early or too late, you might be able to see some kind of cherry blossom here.
How to get to Shinjuku Gyoen
The garden is in the east side of JR Shinjuku station and about 10 minutes walk from South Exit or New South Exit. There are three gate in Shinjuku Gyoen. “Shinjuku“”Okido“, and “Sendagaya“. From the south exit of Shinjuku station, walk down the large street “Koshu Kaido” towards east and you’ll find Shinjuku Gate.
There is also nearby station Shinjuku San-Chome of Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line and Fukutoshin Line and Toei Shinjuku Line. In case you use them, it’s closer to get off here. For Marunouchi Line, Shinjuku Gyoen Mae station is the closest to the garden, and you can enter Okido Gate of the garden, but a bit far from Japanese garden.
Entry Fee: 500 Yen
* Please check the official site upon visiting as the cherry blossom season during covid-19 asked for the reservation in advance.
Tips to avoid crowd
Shinjuku Gyoen can be extremely crowded in cherry blossom season. The main gate of Shinjuku station side can be long line to purchase ticket, so if you are visiting during busy season, I recommend you to use Sendagaya gate. It’s the gate on the south of Shinjuku Gyoen, and only about 5 minutes walk from JR Sendagaya station or Toei Oedo line’s Kokuritsu Kyogijomae (National Stadium) station.
Please also see Shinjuku Neighborhood Guide, Tokyo
If your activities are based in Tokyo, having accommodations in Shinjuku is a good idea. See How to choose Hotels in Shinjuku – Shinjuku Hotel Guide.
For further reading about Tokyo travel information, please also read Complete Travelers Guide of Tokyo, Japan