Rikugien garden is a beautiful Japanese landscape garden in northern Tokyo (東京). Literally translated it means “six poems garden” and was built around the beginning of the 18th century by the 5th Tokugawa Shogun.
As Tokyo is a huge metropolis without much space, Rikugien garden is one of not so many areas to enjoy some breathtaking nature. The reason it is called “six poems garden” is because of the many scenes from famous poems that are represented here.
The garden features a large pond in the center surrounded by hills and forested areas. It reminds of typical strolling gardens that were popular in the Edo period for high-ranking officials to enjoy.
Considering that it lies within Tokyo, Rikugien garden is actually quite spacious. You can easily spend a relaxing 1-2 hours here if you take it slowly and stop for a tea along the way. Speaking of which, you can find multiple tea houses throughout the garden where you can enjoy some traditional Japanese green tea together with some Wagashi sweets.
It’s a good way to take a break from the hustling business of downtown Tokyo. The area in which Rikugien garden is located is also generally quieter.
When you should visit Rikugien Garden
The best time to visit the garden is either fall or spring. In fall, you can witness some breathtaking foliage around the pond that makes for awesome photo opportunities. Also, during this time there are frequent illuminations well into the evening.
Spring is another great time as there are some impressive cherry trees spread throughout the premises. In early December 2019, I was lucky enough to catch one of the remaining illuminations. Visiting during this time is entirely different from daytime and I almost didn’t recognize it. Highly recommended if you’re here during this time period!
Around the pond, you can find many picturesque small bridges from which you can take nice pictures. I think Rikugien garden is less known than other hotspots in Tokyo so you’ll likely have less crowds or fewer tourists to deal with. Give it a try!
Opening Hours & Admission fee
- Opened every day from 9:00 – 17:00 (last entry at 16:30); until 21:00 during the fall illuminations
- Closed from December 29th through January 1st
- Entrance fee is 300 Yen (2,46€;$2.73; exchange rate as of January 2020)
How to get to Rikugien Garden
The garden lies in northern Tokyo near Komagome station (駒込駅).
Starting form Tokyo Station (東京駅), take the JR Yamanote Line headed towards Ueno (上野) and Ikebukuro (池袋). The journey takes about 17 minutes and costs 170 Yen (1,39€;$1.55).
Getting to the entrance of the garden only takes around 5 minutes by foot.
Rikugien garden is a nice and relaxing area full of nature which you can use to wind up from hectic Tokyo. It is located on the Yamanote line between Ikebukuro and Ueno which makes it fairly easily accessible if you visit either of those two.
I recommend coming here in either spring or autumn if you’re in Japan (日本) during that time. That is when the garden is most beautiful. Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it during other seasons. It’s always a treat.
It’s also quite the romantic spot for couples in my opinion. Maybe I’m a little biased as this was one of the first places I visited together with my girlfriend, but I think it is very suitable for a date.
That’s it for Rikugien garden! I’m happy I was finally able to cover another bit of nature in this huge city of Tokyo!
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