Happo En

A stunning Japanese garden in the middle of Tokyo

By Sleiman Azizi    - 2 min read

Happo En is about as perfect a Japanese garden as you can find. Located in Shirokanedai, Tokyo, the garden is used primarily as the site for traditional Japanese weddings. Over 2,000 such weddings are held per year at the gardens, an incredible number but when you see the grounds, you can understand why.

To say that the pond, with its koi carp swimming about, is pretty, or that the traditional tea house offers an elegant touch of culture, is simply not enough. Nor is the deliberate placement of the garden's cherry blossom, azalea and maple trees or the sculptured bonsai plants enough to convince visitors of the garden's beauty.

No matter where you are in the garden, the view is designed to be stunning (Photo: <a href="https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%82%A4%E3%83%AB:Happoen-5.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">江戸村のとくぞう / CC BY-SA 4.0</a>)
No matter where you are in the garden, the view is designed to be stunning (Photo: 江戸村のとくぞう / CC BY-SA 4.0)

What makes Happo En so beautiful is the almost surreal level of harmony that all of these traditional Japanese landscaping elements combine to create. Every element has been carefully considered, every component perfectly balanced against each other to create a legacy of quality that has lasted since the Edo Period.

The main gate is a simple yet impressively grand structure. As you enter and follow the walking path, the natural layout and design of the garden is evident. Choice locations feature small kakutei rest pavilions, intelligently designed to offer beautiful views of their surroundings. A bonsai display rests along the path too, featuring plants that are well over 100 years old. Among them is apparently one plant over 500 years old...

It's hard to overlook just how beautiful this place really is. (Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Happoen-13.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">江戸村のとくぞう / CC BY-SA 4.0</a>)
It's hard to overlook just how beautiful this place really is. (Photo: 江戸村のとくぞう / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Along with the 19th-century built Muan teahouse, the garden features the Hakuokan and Kochuan, higher end establishments servicing the venue side of the garden. Even without making use of their services, their finely designed menus, banquet halls and traditional dining and service experiences naturally add further depth to the garden's atmosphere.

Happo En offers a stunningly harmonious example of all that is beautiful about traditional Japanese landscaping, making it the perfect place to visit when in Tokyo.

Getting there

Take either the Namboku or Mita Subway Lines to Shirokanedai Station. Head out of Exit 2 for a 1-minute walk to the garden.

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Sleiman Azizi

Sleiman Azizi @sleiman.azizi

A Japanese Permanent Resident, I have over 400 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style. I happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via sleiman.azizi@japantravel.com

Join the discussion

Elizabeth S a year ago
Truly beautiful from every angle, just as the name says.

Every time I visit Tokyo, I include a park or garden on my route. It’s amazing how such a dense city has so many enchanting gardens and even wild spaces.
Sleiman Azizi Author a year ago
Yes, I'm quite happy to refute the idea that Tokyo lacks space. There is space everywhere!
Kim B a year ago
Love this place.
Kim B a year ago
Agreed. The times I've visited were on weekdays and it was so peaceful. Definitely worth a visit!
Elena Lisina a year ago
I haven't visit this one yet. Gardens are also good escape!
Sleiman Azizi Author a year ago
It's a beautiful one too.