The Hama-Rikyu Gardens (Palace Gardens) was a fortified residence of the Tokugawa Shogun. The fourth shogun of the Tokugawa dynasty built a beach house here around 1654. Parts of the extensive property was formerly used for duck hunting, later the terrain in the bay of Tokyo was transformed into a garden. The water areas of the park are partially supplied by the bay with salt water and the water level rises and falls with the tides. In Lake Shioiri-no-ike (beginning flood) is the teahouse called Nakajima-no-ochaya, which was reconstructed in 1983 on the model from the Edo period. The teahouse is reached via the 118 m long wooden bridge O-tsutai-bashi. The garden was destroyed during World War II and transferred by the imperial family in 1945 to the city of Tokyo. Since then it is open to the public and bears the name "Hama-rikyu Gardens".
In spring you can admire the blossom of cherry and plum trees. Right next to the Peony Garden, different flowers are planted depending on the season. Another attraction of the Hama-rikyu is the 300-year-old pine tree, standing at the Otemon Gate.
Compared to European parks, the Ueno Park is densely built. Great meadows and forests are here in vain. But there is a big lake with lotus flowers and cheesy pedal boats in swan shape. One of the many attractions of the park is the Ueno Zoo, the oldest of its kind in Japan. Another attraction is the Ueno Toshogu Temple. The Shinto Shrine was built in honor of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa dynasty, who found his final resting place in Nikko. Through him, Edo (Tokyo) became the capital of Japan. This temple was built in 1651 and is one of the few remaining buildings from the Edo period. The shrine is lavishly decorated and shines golden in the sun. At the two pillars of the main portal are two dragons, one ascending and one descending. It is believed that they drink at night in the nearby Shinobazu pond. In front of the temple you can often see Japanese praying for luck or health. Here are also the stone lanterns, which were donated by princes for the temple.
The "Ueno Park" is a popular destination for all seasons. Ueno Park is also home to several well-known museums, including the Tokyo National Museum, the Natural History and Technology Museum, the Museum of Western Art and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.
At the "Hanami" (Cherry Blossom Festival) in April, the trees are decorated and the people meet for a picnic (pikunikku) under the cherry trees. The flowering and falling of the flowers, symbolizes the beauty and transience of life. The "Cherry Blossom Festival" is celebrated in all parts of Japan.
Like many Japanese gardens, Hibiya Park was built on a former residence of a Daimyo prince. After the Tenno took over the power in Japan in 1868, many princes were disempowered. Thus, this property came into the hands of the state. However, Hibiya Park is special because it was the first park to be designed in Western-style in Japan. Japan had just gone through a long period of isolation and was quickly opening up to international ideas. Lawns, fountains, sports fields, music stages and rose beds were created. But there are also areas that were built according to Japanese horticultural traditions. Hibiya Park is a mix of East and West. This park is free of charge, you can just sit on a bench and read a book or just relax.
There is a public roof garden on top of the GINZA SIX shopping center. Trees, water areas and benches invite you to linger. The spectacular about this roof garden is the amazing view. An encircling, glazed tour offers fascinating views over the rooftops of Ginza and to the Tokyo Skytree.
The Kokyo-Gaien Garden belongs to the Imperial Palace of Tokyo. The park is a large green space between the Imperial Palace and the office buildings of Ginza. The garden consists of accurately cut pines and short mown lawn. The trees look like sculptures, casting their shadows on the perfect lawn. In the south east corner of the park, stands an equestrian statue of Kusunoki Masashige. He was a samurai who is revered as an example of loyalty, courage and sacrifice for the emperor.
The Shinjuku Gyoen Park also goes back to a former noble residence. At that time, the property was at an important trade route and the Naito family got the land from Ieyasu Tokugawa, to guard this road. After the Meiji Restoration, Japan bought the land and established an agricultural research center in 1895. After the Second World War, the Shinjuku-Gyoen was transformed into a public park. In the park there are several lakes and tea houses but also meadows and forests. The Shinjuku Gyoen is one of the most beautiful parks in Tokyo.
Yoyogi Park is located between Shinjuku and Shibuya and is the largest park in the center of Tokyo. In Yoyogi Park is also one of Tokyo's top attractions, the Meiji Shrine. The site was formerly owned by Daimyo Kiyomasa, who came to Edo under Ieyasu Tokugawa. After the Meiji restoration, the property went to the emperor, who built the Meiji shrine. In the southern part of the park, the 1964 Olympics were held. After the games, the Yoyogi Park was created. Even today, the park consists of two different areas. The part where the Meiji Shrine is located, is densely forested and is marked by large wooden tori (photo). The southern part is an open park with meadows and cherry trees.