Tokyo has so many beautiful gardens and parks dotted throughout its urban landscape.In some parks you can forget what lies outside its borders due to the sheer size of it, how tall the trees are, or even how much the foliage blocks out of sight. However, Hamarikyu feels like more of an oasis due to the towering structures that visibly surround it.
Located slightly south-west of Tsukiji market, Hamarikyu makes the perfect stop for a morning walk after filling yourself up on fresh tuna and tamagoyaki. The gardens are located right on the Sumida River and surrounded by a moat of water, essentially separating all but a tiny section from the mainland. You can actually take a boat here from Asakusa, so you could even come here for an afternoon stroll after a morning of temple visiting and delicious food.
The gardens are honestly the most beautiful place to take a walk, especially when the sun is shining. In spring it has cherry and plum blossoms (a peony garden too) and in autumn some of the foliage changes to fiery reds and oranges. The teahouse and connecting bridges were closed when we visited, so we couldn’t stop for matcha and wagashi, but it made the views across the pond all the nicer, as there were no people in the way! There are covered seating areas to escape the sun and have a snack, and little hilly viewpoints that allow you to gaze over the majority of the garden too. I can imagine it’s a nice place to escape to if you work in the surrounding office blocks.
The gardens were originally the site of a retreat in the Edo Period, but after a number of changes it eventually became a public park in the 1940s. The beautifully landscaped gardens include a number of seawater ponds, a teahouse, bridges, and a lot of birdlife! It is also home to a 300 year old pine tree, right next to one of the entrances.
Tokyo is a city of opposites, mainly the modern and traditional aspects of Japanese architecture and culture sat side by side, so I actually liked the buildings in the background (and Tokyo Tower too) as it was just the perfect contrast to the park. I also enjoyed how the blue glass of the skyscrapers reflected in the ponds and waterways below.
There are a number of parks and gardens I would recommend in Tokyo and Hamarikyu is definitely up there with some of the prettiest. It costs just 300 yen to enter (just over £2), so it’s very inexpensive! Take a book, an onigiri, and enjoy some peace and quiet under the trees, knowing that the hustle and bustle is far away on the other side of the water.