Walking in the forest and marshlands of the Institute for Nature Study in Meguro makes for a gorgeous green escape from the hustle and bustle of urban Tokyo.
Institute for Nature Study in Meguro - image © Florentyna Leow
It’s hard to believe that there might be a forest in the middle of a city like Tokyo, least of all within the Yamanote Line. Meguro, too, is an otherwise ordinary and mostly residential area. But the Institute for Nature Study, a nature reserve near Meguro Station, defies all expectations for urban Tokyo.
Divided into three main sections, there are ponds to see, botanical gardens and marshland to explore, and trails to walk along. Unsurprisingly, the Institute for Nature Study is fantastic for those who love plants and nature. But, it’s also remarkable in its biodiversity, and is a favorite with birdwatchers and lovers of animal and insect life in general.
With somewhere like Shinjuku Gyoen - a park, rather than a nature reserve - the sight of skyscrapers in the distance is a constant reminder that you’re in the middle of a metropolis. However, in the Institute of Nature Study, natural forests and marshland dominate, and save for the faint sound of cars rumbling past along the perimeter, it feels as though you’ve left Tokyo behind for another world. Only 300 people are allowed in at any one time, helping preserve the peace and tranquility within.
An hour or two spent walking along the trails is a great break from the chaos of the city - highly recommended, especially if you’re passing through the area.
Institute for Nature Study in Meguro
5-21-5 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 108-0071
September-April: 9am-4:30pm (last entry 4pm)
May-August: 9am-5pm (last entry 4pm)
Closed Monday or the following Tuesday when Monday is a national holiday, and the next day of a national holiday (except Saturday and Sunday)
High school students and younger: free
Subway: 4-minute walk from exit 1 of Shirokanedai Station on the Tokyo Metro Namboku line, and Toei Mita line.
Train: 7-minute walk from the east exit of Meguro Station on the JR Yamanote line.
Official Website (English)
Where Is This Place Located?See this place on the Truly Tokyo Google map:
- Open the Tokyo map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
- Check Tokyo accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Tokyo
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online for collection on arrival at Tokyo Narita or Haneda airports. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals. Check my guides to arriving at Narita Airport and at Haneda Airport.
- If you're visiting more than one city, you might save money with a Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world