Shinjuku Gyoen is 144 acres, which makes it one of Japan’s largest National Parks. Inside the national park, there are three large gardens, a greenhouse, several ponds, and a large variety of beautiful trees.
Shinjuku Gyoen National Park is also one of Japan’s most famous National Parks because of its large lawn and skyscrapers that are visible above the towering trees in the garden. It is common to visit Shinjuku Gyoen during holidays and spring because of the beautiful weather and blossoming cherry.
The massive garden has been a public park since 1949, allowing visitors to explore the property that was once home to the former Imperial Family.
It costs 500 yen per person to enter, and there are three convenient ways to travel to the garden. These travel options will lead you directly to an entry gate where you can pay a fee to enter.
What is Shinjuku Gyoen
Shinjuku Gyoen Park is one of Japan’s most popular parks. It is a large park, with three gardens and a beautiful greenhouse, coffee shop, and large lawn areas for picnics.
This park is one of the most celebrated parks because of the many non-invasive plant species, letting visitors experience unique plant species. Some of these unique plant species are featured in the greenhouse, host to a myriad of tropical plants.
Patrons often visit Shinjuku Gyoen National Park because of the beautiful trees and ancient architecture. During World War II, this national park experienced near-total destruction from air raids.
Japanese builders followed the same Edo-era design. However, builders used new technology and building techniques to repair the destroyed buildings. Observing these differences is interesting for people visiting Shinjuku Gyoen.
The history of Shinjuku Gyoen
Lord Naitō of Trsuruga constructed a residence on the land bequeathed to him by Ieyasu Tokugawa in the Edo period. The residence was small in comparison to the land, which expanded through several territories.
The residence supported several generations of the Naitō family before eventually converting it into an educational facility for agriculture. A few years later, in 1879, the Imperial property fell under the management of the Imperial Household Agency. The Imperial Household Agency immediately converted the property into a botanical garden.
Following their new control of the land, they assigned Hayato Fukaba as Chairman of Shinjuku Imperial Garden in 1898. Hayato Fukaba designed a garden that paid tribute to the former Naitō family. Subsequent designs were tributed to the artists designing them, including French landscaper Henri Martine.
Hayato Fukada completed his construction of the garden in 1906. An opening celebration was held, including an appearance of the Emperor.
A few decades later, in 1945, air raids destroyed the land. Reconstruction resumed immediately, and Shinjuku Gyoen was rebuilt. By 1949 Shinjuku Gyoen was open to the public.
Currently, Shinjuku Gyoen is a national park. The national park is under the jurisdiction of the Japanese Ministry of the Environment.
Exploring Shinjuku Gyoen
As one of Japan’s largest gardens, you can explore many things within the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park. You can visit this national monument for a small fee of 500 yen, with public access available every day except Mondays.
With 144 acres to explore, there is no way that you can grow tired in Shinjuku Gyoen. There are sights to see year-round and opportunities for endless exploration.
Enemy warfare destroyed the initial construction of the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden due to an air raid in 1945. After the destruction, Shinjuku Garden underwent restoration and remodeling to bring the elaborate gardens back to life.
Patrons can explore three gardens in the park after admission. The three parks inside the Shinjuku Gyoen include the Japanese landscape garden, the French garden, and the English landscape garden.
Hayato Fukaba initially designed the main garden as we know it today, but there are other landscapers responsible for designing the other gardens in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park. For instance, French landscaper Henri Martine is the sole landscaper for the French garden.
A greenhouse in the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park hosts many tropical plant species from across the world. Shinjuku Gyoen greenhouse allows visitors to see non-native plant species from across the world.
Most of the plants in the greenhouse are tropical and require a very warm or wet climate year-round.
The national park is known for its lovely pink sakura trees. These native pink trees blossom each spring to attract thousands of visitors. In addition to the Japanese native tree, over 20,000 other tree species from across the world are in the park.
The plant variety and unique design across Shinjuku Gyoen Park are why it is one of the most popular places during springtime.
There are several ponds in Shinjuku Gyoen, including Nakanoike Pond. The popular Nakanoike Pond is surrounded by beautiful cherry blossoms, making it a popular destination in spring.
Many of these ponds have bridges and trails surrounding them, which make walking around them peaceful and relaxing. You cannot fish in these ponds, but they are great for viewing.
There is a Starbucks coffee shop inside Shinjuku Gyoen Park. Starbucks provides coffee, tea, and treats to patrons as they visit the renowned tranquil park.
The Starbucks in Shinjuku Gyoen Par is one of 1600 Starbucks in Japan. Japanese Starbucks has a significantly different design than most Western Starbucks stores. Several menu items at this Starbucks are limited to Japan, including the Hokkaido frappucino.
Shinjuku Gyoen Gates
Three gates lead into Shinjuku Gyoen Park. Each of these three gates is within ten minutes of the nearby subway stations.
Walking time from nearby subway stations are:
- Shinjuku Gate is within ten minutes walk of JR Shinjuku Station
- Okido Gate is a five-minute walk from Shinjukugyoenmae Station
- Sendagaya Gate is within five minutes of the JR Sendagaya Station
The Shinjuku Gyoen information center is outside the Shinjuku Gate before entering the park. In addition to providing patrons information about the park, the information center is also an art gallery.
Imperial Rest House
The imperial rest house is a cultural property that was built in 1896 for the Emperor. The rest house is between the Okido and Shinjuku gates. Most of the year, it is inaccessible to the public except for the second and fourth Saturday of each month between 10 am and 3 pm.
Traveling to Shinjuku Gyoen Park
There are no shortages of travel options for traveling to Shinjuku and Shibuya’s most famous National Parks. Several subway lines run directly to the three entry gates into Shinjuku Gyoen Park.
Entering the Park
You can enter the park through any of the three gates. Aside from being located on different sides of the park, only a few things make entering the separate gates different.
Entering the Shinjuku Gyoen National Park through the Shinjuku gate can be beneficial because it is near the visitor center. Before entering, you can stop by the visitor center and ask for information about the park. This is helpful if you have never visited the park before.
Entry gates into Shinjuku Gyoen include:
- Shinjuku Gate
- Okido Gate
- Sendagaya Gate
Every adult must pay 500 yen to enter. You can pay admission at any of the gates. Children between the ages of six and fourteen get a half-off discounted rate of 250 yen. Any children under five may enter the park for free.
There are several holidays when admission is free.