Tokyo is generally considered to be the most developed city in the world, a megalopolis of high rises, bright lights, innovative tech, and nearly 14 million people who keep the city buzzing at all hours. It’s well known that Mount Fuji, Japan’s tallest mountain, is visible from the Japanese capital, which is also just a day trip away from Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park. But there are plenty of open spaces located within city bounds, many of which host iconic Japanese cultural festivals and cherry-blossom-viewing venues throughout the year. From sprawling parks to beautifully manicured gardens, these parks in Tokyo provide a breath of fresh air in one of the world’s busiest cities.
One of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks, Yoyogi Park is loosely sandwiched between two landmarks in the Shibuya district, the Meiji Shrine and Harajuku Station, although technically the shrine is located within the park. During the 1964 Olympics, the park served as an Olympic Village, and it’s still a hub for active types, from joggers and cyclists to martial artists and street performers. Yoyogi Park is also a place of deep tranquility, however, thanks to its ponds, gardens, and walking paths. Keep an eye out for festivals and other cultural events being hosted in the park throughout the year, such as the Harajuku Omotesando Genki Matsuri Super Yosakoi, a traditional Japanese dance festival.
Imperial Palace East Garden
Tokyo’s Imperial Palace is the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. It’s situated on a large estate in the Chiyoda ward and has a rich history dating back to the 15th century. The palace grounds are surrounded by a moat and a series of walls, creating a fortress-like appearance. The main attraction of the Imperial Palace is the Inner Garden, which is where the Emperor and his family reside. The garden is not open to the public, but visitors can sign up for guided tours of the palace grounds and the East Garden. The East Garden is open to the public and offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of Japanese royalty. It includes a range of features, such as traditional Japanese architecture, winding paths, and stone foundations from the Edo Castle.
At 144 acres, Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is one of Tokyo’s largest green spaces. Visitors will find three different styles of garden at Shinjuku Gyoen — Japanese, French, and English — as well as numerous cherry blossom trees that draw thousands of visitors each spring during hanami season, or cherry-blossom-viewing season. Other notable features of the national garden include ponds, walking paths, tea houses, and a greenhouse filled with tropical plants. Note that visitors are expected to pay a small (roughly $2) fee to enter Shinjuku Gyoen.
Ueno Park spans roughly 133 acres in the Taitō ward of Tokyo and is among Japan’s oldest public parks. It’s home to several cultural attractions, including the Tokyo National Museum and Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, a zoo and planetarium, and several beautiful temples and shrines, such as the Toshogu Shrine and the Kaneiji Temple. In addition to outdoor activities like walking, jogging, cycling, and picnicking, the park’s cherry blossom trees make it a popular spot come spring. The Ueno Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom festival is one of several seasonal events hosted in the park, which also notably includes the Ueno Summer Festival.
Shiba Park is a longstanding public park located in the Minato ward of Tokyo. One of the highlights of Shiba Park is its proximity to the Tokyo Tower, a 1,000-plus-foot-tall tower modeled after the Eiffel Tower. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Tokyo from the tower’s observation deck, which is open to the public. Other notable attractions around the park include the Zojoji Temple, a historic Buddhist temple that dates back to the 17th century, and Atago Shrine, a Shinto shrine that sits atop a hill within the park. Visitors to Shiba Park can also stroll through the park’s gardens, which feature a variety of flora and fauna, including cherry blossom trees.
Showa Kinen Park
Showa Kinen Park is a popular outdoor venue for locals and tourists in Tokyo. The park spans roughly 180 hectares and features a diverse array of landscapes and activities, from hiking trails, to Japanese gardens, to open spaces for picnicking and a human-made river that visitors can enjoy via paddle boat. The park also offers unique attractions like a Bonsai Museum and the Showa Memorial Museum, which offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich history and cultural heritage. During the spring and fall seasons, visitors flock to Showa Kinen Park to witness the stunning cherry blossom and autumn foliage displays that light up the landscape.
Hibiya Park is a public park in the Chiyoda ward of Tokyo. It’s celebrated for its vivid gardens, ample open space, and cultural facilities, as well as for becoming one of the first Western-style parks in Tokyo. Visitors can explore the wide range of plant life and foliage throughout the park, including a large number of maple and cherry trees that are particularly vibrant during the autumn and spring seasons. Visitors can also enjoy many outdoor activities such as tennis, soccer, cycling, and jogging, as well as cultural events like open-air theater and music festivals throughout the year. A children’s playground makes it a popular place for families.
Situated in the Musashino City district of Tokyo, within walking distance of the Ghibli Museum, Inokashira Park is centered around a beautiful pond that visitors can enjoy by boat. Beloved for its beauty and tranquil surroundings, the park is replete with trees and foliage, including camphor and cherry blossoms. Inokashira Park hosts numerous cultural events and activities throughout the year, including music concerts, cherry blossom festivals, and fireworks displays.
Hama Rikyū Gardens
The historic Hama Rikyū Gardens were originally built in the 17th century as a residence of the Tokugawa shoguns, serving as both a hunting ground and a tidal pond for ducks. Today, the gardens are open to the public and offer visitors a chance to see a stunning array of both traditional Japanese landscaping and modern Japan architecture. The gardens are located in the Chūō ward of Tokyo and cover an area of around 30 acres, incorporating elements such as ponds filled with a variety of fish and turtles and a teahouse located on a small island in the middle of one pond. The location itself is a unique feature of the Hama Rikyū Gardens as it sits near the city center, offering a quiet respite from the busiest part of Tokyo.
Where to stay near parks in Tokyo
Many of Tokyo’s finest hotels seem to be clustered around the city’s most popular parks, particularly in Chiyoda City near the Imperial Palace and Hibiya Park. Many Tokyo Airbnbs also boast beautiful parkside locations, advertising walking distance to parks like Yoyogi and Ueno. Here are a few Tokyo hotels and Airbnbs park-lovers might like.
We hope you love these accommodations near the best parks in Tokyo! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
The Peninsula Tokyo
One of Tokyo’s most luxurious hotels, the Peninsula Tokyo overlooks the Imperial Gardens and is located right by Hibiya Station that opens to Hibiya Park. The chic high-rise is also less than two miles from the Tokyo Tower and Shiba Park.
Where: 1 Chome-8-1 Yurakucho, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 100-0006, Japan
Price per night: From $925
Bright Condo Near Ueno Park
This two-bedroom condo in the Taitō ward, which the host refers to as the Yushima 88 Guesthouse, is a stone’s throw from Ueno Park. Bright, airy, and relatively spacious, it’s a nice choice for families or groups of friends, especially for the price.
Two bedrooms, five guests
Price per night: $118
Conrad Tokyo is a modern and upscale hotel located in a high-rise near the Hama Rikyū Gardens, which are under 10 minutes away on foot. When guests aren’t out exploring the city, they can take advantage of the four on-site restaurants, cocktail bar, pool, spa, and gym.
Where: 1 Chome-9-1 Higashishinbashi, Minato City, Tokyo 105-7337, Japan
Price per night: From $360
Quiet House Near Yoyogi Park
Walking distance from Yoyogi Park, the Meiji Shrine, and Harajuku, this two-bedroom house has the benefit of being situated in a safe and calm residential neighborhood that still connects to some of Tokyo’s top sights and has all the amenities you’ll need during your stay. Past guests rave about the convenient location and the superhost, Toshiko.
Two bedrooms, four guests
Price per night: $238
Shiba Park Hotel
Right next to Shiba Park, and close Hibiya Park and the Tokyo Tower, the Shiba Park Hotel has the look of a boutique hotel, with warm in-room decor and a charming all-wood library on site, but has the amenities of a larger hotel, as you’d expect of a property with 199 rooms. In-room massages are a particularly fun offer.
Where: 1 Chome-5-10 Shibakoen, Minato City, Tokyo 105-0011, Japan
Price per night: From $100