Rikugien is one of Tokyo’s most picturesque landscape gardens, along with Koishikawa Korakuen. It was built for the fifth Tokyo Shogun, around the year 1700. Rikugien means “Garden of Six Elements of Poetry”, and contains miniature reproductions of 88 landscape scenes from well-known poems. It features a large pond at its centre, which is surrounded by forests and hills, with trails leading throughout.
Walking along all of Rikugien’s trails at a moderate pace takes you close to an hour. You’ll come across a number of delightful teahouses, offering a cup of refreshment along the way for about 500 yen. Naturally, an excellent time to visit is during late fall, when all of the maple leaves have turned to ravishing shades of crimson and gold. Particularly good vantage points can be found near the Togetsukyo Bridge, the Tsutsuji no Chaya teahouse and the Fujishirotoge viewpoint.
Another enjoyable time to visit Rikugien is during spring, when everything is in bloom. Be sure to spend some time near the main gate, where you will see the garden’s weeping cherry trees, as well as near the banks of the pond, which are lined with azaleas.
Getting to Rikugien
Take either the JR Yamanote Line or the Namboku Subway Line as far as Komagome Station, and the main entrance to Rikugien is 5 to 10 minutes on foot from there. There is a closer gate, called the Someimon Gate, but it is only open to the public during late Autumn (end of November – beginning of December) and early Spring (end of March – beginning of April).
Opening Hours/Admission Fees
Admission is 300 yen. The park is open from 9:00 until 17:00, with last admission at 16:30. During the cherry blossom and autumn color seasons, the park is beautifully lit until 21:00. The park is closed between December 29 and January 1.