Japan: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

One of the places we visited in Tokyo is the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Initially built in the 1800s for royalty, and completed in 1906, the gardens were destroyed in 1945. They were restored, and in 1947 they became known as the Shinjuku Imperial Gardens, and renamed again in 2001 as the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

A beautiful oasis in the world’s largest metropolis, the gardens are both sprawling and lovely. The grounds cover more than 144 acres and include english landscape, french formal, and traditional japanese gardens. There is also a lovely greenhouse with tropical plants.

But enough talking about the gardens, have a look for yourself:

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden Map

Adam being silly with the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden map.

Spring flowers at Shinjuku Gyoen

Cherry Blossom Trees at Shinjuku Gyoen garden

We were a bit too early to catch the peak of the cherry blossoms, but we saw some of the early cherries.

In the Shinjuku Gyoen greenhouse

Water feature with some pretty victoria waterlily pads in the greenhouse.

Agave In the Shinjuku Gyoen greenhouse

A lovely agave in the greenhouse.

The History of Shinjuku Gyoen greenhouse

The greenhouse has been around in some for or another since the late 1800s.

No collecting crawdads

No collecting crayfish, y’all.

Double row of sycamores

The two double rows of sycamores in the french formal garden reminded me a bit of Queens.
Not the rows per se, but the distinctive sycamore bark.

The distinctive sycamore tree bark

That distinctive sycamore bark.

Shinjuku Gyoen rose garden and topiary area

The out-of-season rose garden and topiary in the french formal garden.

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden Shimono-Ike

Shimono-Ike, the lower pond in Shinjuku Gyoen National Gardens.

Looking over Shimono-Ike towards the skyline

Looking over Shimono-Ike towards a teeny-weeny slice of the never-ending Tokyo skyline.

A forested area

There were a bunch of ravens

There were a bunch of ravens near Nakkano-Ike, the middle pond.

Nevermore raven

Nevermore, and all that.

The Taiwan Pavilion – Kyu-Goryo-Tei

Taiwan Pavilion – Kyu-Goryo-Tei. The pavilion, built in 1928, is an accurate reproduction of Southern Chinese Minnan architecture.

Taiwan Pavilion – Kyu-Goryo-Tei

Inside Kyu-Goryo-Tei, the Taiwan Pavilion

Detail of Taiwan Pavilion – Kyu-Goryo-Tei

A window there.

The Japanese Formal Garden seen from The Taiwan Pavilion

The Japanese Formal Garden seen across Kamino-Ike, the upper pond, from The Taiwan Pavilion. A stunning view.

Traditional Japanese Style Gardens

Japanese Koi

Glub, glub.

Very Japanese

More cherries blossoms

While we were in town a bit too early for the full cherry blossom show, the gardens were fantastic, even in the winter. We are quite spoiled here in Atlanta, with the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, but even so we enjoyed ourselves and would recommend the trip to anyone visiting Tokyo. With the variety of botanical, cultural, and historical/architectural attractions present, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is sure to have something for most everyone to enjoy.


Nerd. Foodie. Gamer. Homecook. Perpetual planner. Gardener. Aspiring homesteader. Direct response graphic designer. I use too many damn commas.

2 thoughts on “Japan: Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

  1. Beautiful! I love formal gardens, there’s something so magical about them. Also – sycamores! My favorite. I fell in love with them when I lived in France, their bark and shape are just so cool. No sycamores up here where I live:(

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