15 Parks You Must Go in Tokyo

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Source: Gavin Anderson

Tokyo image around the world is usually associated with mega-urban high tech city but don’t let this image mislead you, the city has always kept quite large spaces in almost every district for large scale parks and greenery. In almost every neighborhood you will be able to find a park to relax in and in every major ward of Tokyo, there is always a massive park allowing its residence to enjoy nature surrounded by the high-rise cityscape.

In this article, we will explore some of Tokyo most famous parks which you should not miss if you plan to visit Tokyo. The parks are both a great place to get away from the bustling city around you as well as a great place to socialize, exercise, spend time with your pets, or just relax under the big blue sky.

Parks in Tokyo are usually open 24 hours all week long, but the best days to visit parks are probably Saturday and Sunday, when Tokyo residents take a break from work and flood the parks to enjoy some quality time. In many parks there are also special areas for mini-camping which allows you to setup a daily tent, and use a barbecue to roast meat and vegetables. It is very common to see in parks many of Tokyo residents taking advantage of those special areas with friends and families and create quite large barbecue parties.

Lets get on and start to get to know where are those parks and what they can offer you to enjoy your break time in Tokyo.

1. Yoyogi Park


Source: Thomas Woodtli

Located right between Yoyogi Station from one side and Harajauku Station on the other, is one of Tokyo largest parks, Yoyogi Koen. The park spreads over 134 acres and is one of the most popular parks in Tokyo. The park used to be the hosting grounds to 1964 Tokyo Olympics athletes and after the olympics, the whole area was designated as park and turned to what we know today as Yoyogi Park. The park is especially busy on weekend when rock bands are setting up street performances, and all around the park you can see jugglers, comedians, martial arts clubs, cosplayers and other subculture and hobby groups which are all coming from the Harajuku area at the park entrance. In spring, thousands of people visit the park to enjoy the cherry blossom during the “hanami” celebrations and the park has large picnic areas, bike paths, cycle rentals and public sport courts.

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2. Ueno Park


Source: Gavin Anderson

Uno Park is located right next to Ueno Station, which is the next station after Akihabara, and in a walking distance from both Akihabara and Ueno districts. The park spread over 133 acres and is hosting 3 large museums. The National Museum of Western Art, the Ueno Royal Museum, and the Tokyo National Museum for Japanese art and antiques. The massive park is also including a man made pond with trails crisscrossing it from every direction, offering many great spots for both picnic and relaxing. The park is also in close proximity to Ueno Zoo, which is the largest Zoo in Tokyo, and the park has its own shrine, the Toshogu Shrine which is located at the edge of the pond, right next to the exit to Ueno Zoo. Uno Park is also right next to Ueno Okachimachi market, which is a large low price shopping area, and its best advised to check out the market before or after visiting the park!

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3. Shinjuku Gyoen


Source: Yoshikazu TAKADA

Shinjuku Gyoen is a beautiful park located between Shinjuku Station area on one end and the Keio University on the other. The park spread over 143 acres and offer an amazing view of Shinjuku high-rise business district which is a truly magnificent view when the sun sets and the sky turns red-orange. The park itself ho,ld a beautiful gem inside it in form of a Japanese garden and pond which was built and maintained by the Imperial Household Agency who maintain all the Imperial Family gardens around Japan. The garden is designed to look like an English or French garden in the north section and Japanese styles at the south. In the Japanese section you can also find a beautiful tea house right on the edge of the pond. Shinjuku Gyoen is also a great place to enjoy the hanami (Cherry Blossom Vewing) as the park offers large cherry groves in it!

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4. Shiba Park


Source: Matt Kieffer

Sheba Park is a 30 acres park located right between Roppongi areas and the Tokyo Tower hill. The park is easily accessed from Roppongi district on one side and from Toranomon area from the other. The park is surrounding the beautiful Zojo-ji Buddhist Temple and offer a picture perfect spot to capture the temple and Tokyo Tower behind it! In the past few decades, Toranomon area has turned to be one of Tokyo most impressive business and residential skyscraper district, and the park offers a beautiful spot right under those glass towers around it! If you are visiting the park, make sure not to miss just a few hundred meters down the street, the Atago Shrine. This shrine is built on a massive hill and have a very famous “stairway to success” stone staircase which they say, whoever climb it up, his success in business is guaranteed!

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5. Komazawa Olympic Park


Source: Hiroaki Sakurai

Komazawa Olympic Park is a 102 acres park surrounding the Komazawa Olympic Stadium located right on the edge of both Meouro and Setagaya districts. The Olympic Stadium is an athletic and soccer venue and therefor the park attracts lots of runners and cyclist who use its wide trails for exercise and sporting activities. The park also includes the Komazawa Gymnasium and multiple additional soccer, baseball, swimming, tennis, jogging and cycling facilities. This park was also part of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and was the place which hosted the wrestling, volleyball and other sport competitions since that time.  If you look for a great place to both exercise and picnic, Komazawa Olympic Park is just the right place!

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6. Komaba Park


Source: Guwashi999

Komaba Park is a small 10 acres park located in Meguro district and connected to the University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus area. In the Meiji era, the park was the site of Komaba Agricultural College and then it turned to become Tokyo Imperial University Faculty of Agriculture. In 1929, a beautiful Tudor style residence structure was built in the middle of the park for the 16th Marquis, Toshinari Maeda. This building is still standing today and is a beautiful sport to see in the middle of modern Tokyo. A Japanese style garden annex was added in 1930 to provide accommodation and entertainment space for the many overseas visitors, and today the place is open for the public to enjoy this very unique style atmosphere as well as a host to Japan Museum of Modern Literature.

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7. Mizumoto Park


Source: Jim Shine

Mizumoto Park is a 227 acres park located in Katsushika ward on the edge of Tokyo and Chiba areas. The park is surrounded by an extension of the Edogawa River which is used as a man made flood control basin and bordering the Saitama Kenritsu Misato Park on the other bank of the river extension. The park is considered to be the largest park with water landscape in all Tokyo district, showcasing large and small canals drawn from the flood control basin and run through the park, creating riverside town scenery. The park is known for its diverse plants and wild birds populations. Mizumoto Park is also a beautiful hanami (Cherry Blossom Viewing) spot if you look for a bit out of the city spot to enjoy it.

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8. Kitanomaru Park


Source: Yoshikazu TAKADA

Kitanomaru Park is a 47 acres park located in Chiyoda district, just north of the Imperial Palace in close proximity to Yasukuni Shrine and Jimbocho area. The park can easily be access by walking around the Imperial Palace moat all the way to the park entrance. The park feels like a little forest surrounded by Tokyo modern architecture from one side and Japanese old style palace structures on the other providing a beautiful contract between the different environments. The park is surrounded by evergreen trees such as camphor and machilus trees, and has a pond in the center of it. The National Museum of Modern Art is located next to the park while the park itself is hosting the Science Museum and the Nippon Budokan performance art arena.

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9. Miyashita Park


Source: Kenichiro Egami

Miyashita Park is located on a couple of green spots linked with trails deep within the heart of Shibuya Ward surrounded on one side by the tracks of the Yamanote and Saikyo Line running between Shibuya Harajuku stations, and be by Meiji Street and there Shibuya River on the other. This is a very urban area and offer a space to many people who come to socialize and hang out in the Shibuya rea every weekend. This park is not known for its green as much as it is known for its socializing and fun it offers right in the heart off the city. If you pass by the park on the weekend, you will probably see many young people hanging out, playing music, dancing and picnicking to enjoy the weekend break time.

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10. Kinuta Park


Source: shuzo serikawa

Kinuta Park is a 96 acres park located in Setagaya area about 20 minutes walk from Yoga Station. Kinuta Park is a beautiful green space spreading as far at the eye can seen, which is a rare view in Tokyo. It stands out among parks in central Tokyo as having one of the largest areas of grass lawn. Such a large grass lawn was possible as the park was originally a public golf course turned into a public park making use of natural landform as well as man made ones. The park is very popular on weekends and holidays and it is very family oriented where you can see many families doing picnic and enjoying with their kids around. The place is also one of the most beautiful spots to enjoy the Cherry Blossom viewing, as well as an excellent cycling spot as it has a long cycling route surrounding its edges.

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11. Hibiya Park


Source: Yasuyuki HIRATA

Hibiya Park is a 40 acres park located right between Ginza, the Imperial Palace, and Shinbashi area. The park is famous for the Shisei Kaikan brick building which was built in Gothic european style in 1929 and housed the Domei Tsushin state wire service and its postwar successors Kyodo News and Jiji Press. Due to this mix of European and Japanese styles,t he park is very popular spot for outdoor events such as the Oktoberfest festival in which German beers and food are served for almost a month daily on the park grounds. Since the park is almost an extension to the Imperial Palace area, you will usually see many people exercise on its paths as the area surrounding the Imperial Palace is a known runners spot.

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12. Inokashira Park


Source: tensaibuta

The Inokashira Park is a 95 acres park located right between Musashino and Mitaka districts of western Tokyo. The park is considered a special gift from the Emperor to the general public and is one of the most beautiful natural spots to visit in western Tokyo area. The park has a massive pond in the center of it and its said that the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu, was the one who gave the pond its name “Inokashira Pond” which generally means in Japanese “well that supplies the most delicious water”. The park is divided into four sections, Inokashira Pond and its surroundings, Gotenyama with its wooded area and Shizen Bunka-en Gardens, recreation facilities in the west end of the park, and the No. 2 park to the southeast.

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13. Asukayama Park


Source: Guilhem Vellut

Asukayama Park is a beautiful small park located in Kita ward very close to Arakawa River.The park was established is the early eighteenth century by shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune who planted many cherry trees in the area and opened up the land for the enjoyment of the “Edokko” or citizens of Tokyo. The park is a very popular Cherry Blossom viewing as it offers almost 700 cherry trees of all kinds to enjoy under at the hanami celebrations. The park is also hosting the place for three museums, the Asukayama Museum, the Paper Museum, and the Shibusawa Memorial Museum. The park also offers a great space for kids with a real steam tram for kids to play in and castle-themed slide. The park also offers a free ride on the a monorail running up and down the hill of Asukayama!

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14. Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park


Source: Guilhem Vellut

Arisugawa-no-miya Memorial Park is a 16 acres park located in Minato district just outside Hiro-o Station. As the name suggested, the park belongs to the Arisugawa-no-miya Japanese imperial family which gave the park to Prince Takamatsu in 1913. The prince which was known for his care for children health and their connection to nature donated the park to Tokyo city. The park is built into cascading hills and valleys and includes ponds, and densely wooded areas with streams, waterfalls,  and bridges. On the top of the hill there is a large plaza with children’s playground and a statue of Prince Arisugawa Taruhito. There are also the little statues of the “Newspaper Delivery Boy” and the “Youth Playing a Flute”. On the other side of the plaza visitors of the park can access the Tokyo Metropolitan Library.

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15. Kasai Rinkai Park


Source: Yoshikazu TAKADA

Kasai Rinkai Park is a 200 acres park located on the banks of the Edogawa River and is one of the most popular parks in the Edogawa area of Tokyo. The park is actually built man made reclaimed land and by far it is the largest park in Tokyo. Kasai Rinkai Park includes an aquarium and a bird sanctuary, a viewing tower and a hotel of its own to host visitors who come to the park area and want to stay close to it for a couple off days. The parl also includes the massive Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel which allows visitors to ride it and enjoy the beautify of the park and the cityscape in front of it. The park also has two artificial beaches on island. The “west beach” is a little island connected to land by the Kasai Nagisa bridge and is a popular place for recreation, and the “east beach” is the place where the birds sanctuary is located. The place is inaccessible for visitors but a great place to view wild birds from afar!

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Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Japan, Tokyo Prefecture