Thin on traditional landscaping but big on water views, Chuo City Ward is not usually the first place one thinks of when it comes to Japanese parks and gardens. However this city, with its links to both high-end money and blue-collar grit finds time for some genuinely open parks and one most impressive Japanese landscape garden. Here is a quick introduction to some of the open spaces of Chuo and how to reach them.
Family friendly with play equipment for children of all ages, Akatsuki Park is a cosy enough public space that features a sculpted bust of the man who introduced Western medicine into Japan, Philipp Franz von Seibold. The park is also home to a monument by the city declaring its dedication to peace.
Located right by Sumida River, Hamacho Park is a surprisingly spacious and well equipped public park. With its playground, athletic centre and even a campground, the park serves a local place for both relaxation and activity. The ginko trees, hydrangeas and cherry blossoms are all special sights during their respective blooming seasons.
A 1-minute walk from Hamacho Station on the Toei Shinjuku Line.
Right by Tokyo Bay, Hamarikyu Gardens is the jewel of Chuo City. Once the private domain of the Tokugawa shogunate and then the Imperial family, the gardens feature a number of teahouses including one located in the middle of the pond. The well-designed walking paths crisscross an immaculately landscaped view making the JPY300 worth price of admission.
A 5-minute walk from Shiodome Station on the Toei Oedo line.
One of Japan's many land reclamation projects, the two-tiered banks of Ishikawajima Park sit along the Sumida River before merging into Tsukuda Park and its recreated lighthouse. Home to some splendid views of Tokyo Skytree tower and Eitai Bridge, the park also features the Paris Plaza, celebrating the relationship between Japan and France.
An 8-minute walk Tsukishima Station on the Toei Oedo or the Yurakucho lines.