I have seen many say Tokyo is one of those concrete jungle cities just like New York and Shanghai. But in fact, there is lots of lots of green and historical properties to see. I will introduce some of Japanese traditional gardens for sightseeing and parks for hiking. Make sure you have travel cover when you are going hiking in another country.
Rikugien is a Japanese traditional garden. The construction of the garden was done in 1702 by Sho-gun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi’s command. The garden is located right in the middle of Tokyo, and it will still make you forget that you are in Tokyo because of its beautiful sight. The view varies following the seasons, and particularly it becomes beautiful with snow. You can enjoy Japanese matcha (heavy green tea) and traditional snacks and deserts at the café in the garden while sightseeing. This is my most favorite place. Whenever my foreign friends visit me in Tokyo, I always take them here and they love it! The entrance fee is 300Yen.
To experience a traditional Japanese social event, you must come to the park at the end of March to beginning of April. Hanami, meaning “flower watching”, is actually a great opportunity for friends to gather at the park and drink Saki under fully bloomed cherry blossoms, called Sakura in Japanese. This event will give you the best excuse for taking sick leave from your company the next day. The park is huge but getting a spot is extremely competitive. You need to know a couple of things to have a perfect Hanami.
The followings are my tips to making an epic Hanami drinking session, so here we go!!
– Bring a sleeping bag, snack and beverage and get a good spot 2 days before Hanami day. In the worst case, the day before should be fine.
– Rotate the person who keeps the spot every day. Someone has to stay there to keep the spot.
– Here comes Hanami day!
– Bring your alcohol, musical instruments for your jam session, also portable speakers which last at least half day.
– Then everyone in the park will love you guys!!
Be legends on Hanami day…
The park is surrounded by lots of maple leaves and ginkgo trees. It is located in one of Tokyo’s downtowns and is a beautiful site in the autumn months. That is the best season to visit, you will see a breathless array of autumn leaves. Additionally the park has British and French style garden. The entrance fee is 200Yen.
After visiting the park, I highly recommend to go to an alley called Omoide Yokocho in Shinjuku. It is roughly 10 minutes walk from the park gate to the alley. Omoide means “reminiscence” in Japanese, Yokocho means “alley”. As represented from the words, this alley with lots of restaurants looks retro like in 1940s or 50s. It is not really that clean and tidy, but the atmosphere is amazing as well as food tastes fabulous.
This traditional garden was also constructed by Shogun Tokugawa period in 1629, it is a little older than Rikugien. The design is a mix of Japanese and Chinese Buddhism so there are various spots that you can see some Chinese tastes. From time to time, they hold Japanese poem competition. If you are deeply into Japanese traditions, take a look at: