Tokyo has a surprising number of parks and gardens. This itinerary is carefully crafted to allow you to visit the best of them in one day.
Tokyo Hama Rikyu Gardens © elenaglubokovskih
Tokyo Nature And Garden Lovers Itinerary Summary
- This itinerary covers five parks and gardens located on the west side of Tokyo in Shinjuku, Harajuku and Meguro.
- This itinerary can be done in one long day (but you can also spread it across two days if you want to move at a leisurely pace).
- 9:00am: Shinjuku Gyoen Garden (Shinjuku)
Start your day with a stroll in the superb and expansive Shinjuku Gyoen Garden. It's easily accessed from Shinjuku by either the Marunouchi subway line or the JR Chuo Line.
- 10:30am: Meiji-jingu Shrine (Harajuku)
Head back to Shinjuku and then take the JR Yamanote Line two stops south to Harajuku. Here, cross the bridge and enter the woods surrounding the impressive Meiji-jingu Shrine.
- Noon: Lunch in (Harajuku)
Eat lunch in one of the many restaurants in Harajuku. See my Harajuku Places to Eat section for details.
- 1:00pm: Nezu Museum (Harajuku/Aoyama)
Walk east on Omotesando all the way to the Nezu Museum (consider a taxi if it's hot or rainy or you're tired). The museum itself is great, but the real highlight is the superb garden out back (entry to the garden is included in admission to the museum). This is my favorite garden in Tokyo. Don't miss it!
- 3:00pm: Institute for Nature Study (Meguro)
Return to Harajuku Station and take the JR Yamanote Line three stops south to Meguro. Walk east to the Institute for Nature Study, which is really a lovely pocket of woodland preserved in the heart of Tokyo. Note that last entry here is usually 4:00pm
- 4:30pm: Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum (Meguro)
If you're still got energy left, walk west from the Institute for Nature Study and enter the Tokyo Metropolitan Teian Art Museum, which is right next door. This wonderful Art Deco building plays host to various interesting art exhibitions and it's surrounded by a fine stroll garden.
Hints, Comments and Variations
- By dropping Shinjuku Gyoen Garden, you reduce the number of subway/train rides you must take to complete this itinerary. This also cuts out at least one hour from the itinerary and makes it more relaxing.
- I don't recommend this itinerary on rainy or extremely hot days.
- Be sure to wear comfortable shoes when you do this itinerary.
- Other places to consider for a visit are Hama Rikyu Gardens (Shiodome), the Imperial Palace East Garden (Imperial Palace Area) and Koishikawa Korakuen Garden (Imperial Palace Area).
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
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings on Skyscanner
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Find out why it's essential you have travel insurance for Tokyo