For those who love Japanese-style landscape gardens, Tokyo is a paradise. Having been the country’s political capital during the Edo period, Tokyo isn’t lacking in beautiful gardens that once belonged to feudal lords. Most of them are now open to the public, and Rikugien near Komagome station in Tokyo is one of the prettiest gardens in the city.
Rikugien was created in 1702 by feudal lord Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu. Its name -riku- (roku means 6 in Japanese) refers to the Waka poems that were inspired by Chinese poetry, which are divided into six categories. It covers 8.7 hectares, with a central lake. From the entrance itself, a path leads around the lake. The path leads to a 35m high promontory from which there is a spectacular view of the garden. The garden is a typical example of the gardens of the Edo period.
In the Meiji period, the garden was owned by the Iwasaki family, who were the founders of Mitsubishi Corporation) as a second home, and in 1938 it was donated to the city of Tokyo. In nearby Ueno, you can visit the residence of the Iwasaki family, Kyu Iwasakitei.
After it was donated to the city, the garden was opened up to the general public. It is a pretty large garden, and it will take around an hour to walk the full course. There are trails that will take you through gardens, forests, and lanes, and there are several tea houses that you can enter. In one of the tea houses, you can drink a cup of matcha tea and take a rest with a beautiful view.
The best time to go to Rikugien is the autumn when the leaves are changing colors. The optimal time for this is mid-November to early December. They even do a light-up event during which they stay open until later in the evening. Spring is also beautiful with the blooming cherry trees in early April and azaleas in April-May.
Hours: open daily from 9 am – 5 pm
Entrance fee: 300 yen for people between 12 and 65, 150 yen for people aged 65+, free for kids under 12