Tokyo Hama Rikyu Garden
Hama Rikyu is a traditionally-styled landscape garden in the Shiodome district, beside Tokyo Bay. It is particularly relaxing to step into such peaceful surroundings when they are so close to the skyscrapers and commercial bustle of the outside world. This large garden has saltwater ponds that rise and fall according to the tides. One of these even has an island teahouse, where you can enjoy a cup of green tea and traditional Japanese sweets.
The garden was built during the Edo Period, when the Tokugawa Shogunate held power. It was originally part of a feudal lord’s land, and served as his hunting grounds. Later, it became a strolling garden for the nobility. The remains of the past can still be seen in the garden today. Visitors will discover the vestiges of an old moat, along with some restored hunting blinds and a reconstructed stone wall.
Although some of the other gardens in Tokyo are better known for their autumnal splendor, Hama Rikyu is still gorgeous in the fall season (and, in fact, at any time of year) and worth a visit. It has a variety of deciduous trees, including gingko and maple, which turn to fiery shades as the weather cools. There are also plum blossoms in late February, and cherry blossoms from late March to early April, along with fields of canola and peonies.
Hama Rikyu has free electronic guides for loan from the Nakanogomon Gate and Otemon entrances. These are available in English, and lead visitors on a variety of 60-90 minute walks through the grounds. The guide uses video to explain historical and natural points of interest.
Getting to Hama Rikyu
The closest station is Shiodome station, which is on the Oedo subway line and the Yurikamome elevated train. Alternatively, it’s still only 10-15 minutes on foot from JR Shimbashi station.
You can also take the Tokyo Water Bus from Asakusa for 720 yen. The journey takes 35 minutes. You can’t make it a direct round trip, however, because the water bus returning to Asakusa does not stop at Hama Rikyu. To travel from Hama Rikyu back to Asakusa requires a detour to Hinode Pier, and increases the travel time by 10 minutes.
Admission is 300 yen.
Hama Rikyu is open between 9:00 and 17:00, with last admission at 16:30.
The garden is closed between December 29 and January 1.
Some of Tokyo’s most elegant hotels and top restaurants are in the Shiodome area. If you are traveling on a budget, however, you will probably need to stay further from the central metropolitan area. Before choosing a place to stay we recommend checking out the page on Tokyo hotels.